Honoring God With Our Money: Giving Back

In this lesson we have looked at God’s provisions for us.  Today we examine the question, “What should we give back to God in return for all He gives us?

In First Samuel 15:22, we read that God desires obedience above sacrifice.  “But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

God expects His people to obey Him in all things, including giving to the work of the Lord.  The Israelites were trying to keep God’s favor by bringing sacrifices and burnt offerings while disobeying His instructions to refrain from participating in the evil practices of their neighbors.  Samuel was telling them that offerings are not enough.

In 1 Corinthians 16:1,2, Paul instructions Christians to provide for those who do God’s work. “Now about the collection for God’s people…On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income. ”  Furthermore, Paul doesn’t ask that each person give equally, but rather than each person give in accordance with his or her income.  This supports the concept of tithing, in which everyone gives 10% of their income to the work of the church.

 

The Bible provides clear instructions on how are we to give.

 2 Chronicles 24:16  “All the officials and all the people brought their contributions gladly.

 2 Chronicles 31:12 “They faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes, and dedicated gifts.”

Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

Exodus 35:2  “And everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments.”

 

2 Corinthians 8:12 tell us we are to give in accordance with what we have. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

Giving according to what we have—typically 10%, or a tithe, of our income–ensures that everyone is contributing but no one is unduly burdened. 

Furthermore,  2 Chronicles 31:12 (see above) instructions us that we are to give contributions, tithes, and dedicated gifts.  Tithes are the first 10% of our income that belongs to God, contributions are gifts above our tithes, and dedicated gifts are given to meet a specific purposes.

 

 We should give to the work of the church out of obedience to God and in thankfulness for the many blessings He bestows on us.  As if that were not enough, however, God has promised to extravagantly bless those who tithe and provide for His work.

Malachi 3:8-10  “You ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'”

 

2 Corinthians 9: 10, 11 “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”

 

Our Life Application verse reminds us that God wants us to give cheerfully and that He will bless us in accordance with our generosity to the work of the church and to others.

2  Corinthians 9:6, 7 “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he had decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Honoring God With Our Money: Lessons from the Widow and Elijah

As you read the story of the widow and Elijah in I Kings 17:7- 16 below, think about what we can learn from this story about God’s provision for His people.

 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.  
And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,   Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.   
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
1And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
Elijah asks the widow for bread
Elijah asks the widow for bread
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

 

When I read this story, it reminds me that:

(1)   God does provide for His people.

(2)   God wants us to trust Him.

(3)   We need to give to the work of the Lord first and then take care of ourselves.

Honoring God With Our Money: God Provides for Us

In week 4 of our study ‘Honoring God with Our Money,’ we are looking at how God provides for us and what He asks of us in return.  We began the lesson by asking you to consider how God has recently provided for your family. 

Every day God is providing for us.  We don’t also acknowledge His provisions and often we aren’t even consciously aware of the many ways God provides for us.  I encourage people I speak to, particularly women, to keep journals of clear incidences of God’s provision. Some financial blessings are quite apparent–you receive an unexpected check in the mail or someone treats your family to lunch.  Others are less apparent–you discover a small leak in your roof before it becomes a major problem, a bill is less than you expected, or many of the items on your shopping list are on sale this week. 

God’s provisions are not always financial–God provides words of encouragement, helping hands, open doors and closed doors, solutions to difficult problems, and other clear demonstrations of His love when we need them.  I encourage you to record those provisions as well.

 

In Deuteronomy 8:17-18  we read, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to product wealth.”

It is God who gives us our mental and physical abilities.  Without his grace and provision, we are able to do nothing.   I am always pleased when I hear athletes, actors, songwriters, and other celebrities thanking God for the talent He has given them.   Like them, we should daily acknowledge that it is only through God’s  provisions for us that we are able to work to provide for our families. 

We need to trust God for our provisions.  The following verses are just two of the many times in God word that He promises that His people will never go without food and that He will provide for us when we ask Him.

Psalm 37:25  “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.”

Matthew 7:7 – 8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 

God wants us to ask Him for what we need and to thank Him when He meets are needs.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more aware of the many ways God blesses you financially each week and make a habit to acknowledge these blessings and thank God for them.

Please feel free to share ways you have seen God provide for your family recently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honoring God With Our Money: Lesson 4

This is week 4 of a 6-week Bible study entitled ‘Honoring God with Our Money’.  This week we look at how God provides for us and how He expects us in return to provide for the work of the church.

 

Think about specific ways have you observed God providing for you and your family?  Jot down a few as a record of God’s faithfulness.  This record of God’s faithfulness will serve to increase your faith when you walk through times of trouble.

 

Read the following Bible verses and think about what each verse tell us about God’s provisions for His people?

 Deuteronomy 8:17-18    

 Psalm 37:25 

 Matthew 7:7 – 8

 Read the story of the widow and Elijah in I Kings 17:7 – 16.  What can we learn from this illustration?

 God provides for all of our needs. What do the following verses tell us about what He ask of us in return?

 1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

 This verse tells us that God desires ___________________________

1 Corinthians 16:1,2 Now about the collection for God’s people…On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.

 This verse tells us that we are to _______________________________________.

 The amount we give should be based on ______________________________.

Exodus 25:2 Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering.  You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompt them to.

 We should give when _______________________________________________.

What do the following verses tell us about how are we to give?

 2 Chronicles 24:16 All the officials and all the people brought their contributions ________.

2 Chronicles 31:12 They _______________ brought in the contributions, tithes, and dedicated gifts.

Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the _____________ ______________of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

 

Exodus 35:2  And everyone who was _______________ and whose _________________ moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments.

 What does 2 Corinthians 8:12 tell us about how much are we to give?

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

 ________________________________________________________________

What types of offerings should we give? (Refer to 2 Chronicles 31:12 above). 

___________________________________________________________

 Read Malachi 3:8 – 10 and 2 Corinthians 9:10, 11.  If we give in accordance with God’s commands, what does He promise us?

 ____________________________________________________________________

Malachi 3:8-10 You ask, “How do we rob you?” In tithes and offerings.  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  “Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

2 Corinthians 9: 10, 11 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God

 Life Application:

2  Corinthians 9:6, 7  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he had decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Please check back throughout the week for my commentary on this lesson.

Honoring God With Our Money: Purpose of Money

Before we can really consider how to honor God with our money, we need to consider the purpose of money.

Money serves to make transactions easier.  Without money, we would have to barter for the things we need and want.  Work is a form of barter.  I go to work for you and give up my free time.  While I am at work, I accomplish the tasks you assign to me.  In exchange for my time and labor, you pay me an agreed upon sum.  Without money, I would have to trade my services to you for products or services that I need and that you could supply.  Money makes the whole process much simpler than a bartering system.

Most of us work hard to earn our money.  We want to get the most for our money.  We use money to meet our needs and to make life easier and more enjoyable.

Isaiah 55:2 provides a good framework for money management.  It says “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labors on what does not satisfy?

In this verse, bread signifies necessities of life–food, shelter, clothing, and other things we truly need.  If we spend our money to buy the things we need, we feel satisfied and content.  When we waste our money on things that we don’t need, we feel regret and discontent.  All of us have purchased things we thought we really wanted, only to have them sit in a closet unused for years before we decided to get rid of them.  Our natural tendency to purchase items we don’t need has led to the rise of yard sales and thrift stores.

I believe we would waste much less money if we would stop and ask ourselves two questions before making a purchase:

1) Do I truly need this item?

2) Am I willing to trade ______ hour(s) of my labor to obtain this item?

This week I encourage you to pause before making any discretionary purchases and consider these questions.

Honoring God With Our Money, Lesson 1

I have just begun teaching a Sunday school class entitled Honoring God With Our Money.  Earlier this year, I read Dwight L. Moody’s book Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study. It inspired me to do a word search on what the Bible says about money.  That lead to searches on riches, wealth, poverty, giving, charity, tithing, and greed.

The Bible has quite a lot to say about money and finances.  These teachings are still valid today and can be used as a guideline for how to live in financial freedom.  As I studied, I felt impressed to write a Sunday school curriculum and teach these principals to some of my fellow church members.  In this space, I will also share this information with my readers.

At the beginning of each week, I will post the student worksheets.  Then, throughout the week, I will post the teaching notes.  This study is for anyone who is experiencing financial difficulties and for everyone who wants to know more about what the Bible says about money and finances.

 Please feel free to post comments, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with me.  I hope that you will find this study useful and that it will give you a better understanding of how we can honor God by the way we earn, spend, give, and share our money.  May God richly bless you, financially and spiritually, as you begin to apply these godly principals to your life.

Week 1:  Purpose of Money, Overview of Class

Think AboutWhat purposes does money serve?

Read Theme Verse:  Isaiah 55:2  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labors on what does not satisfy?

In this verse, what does bread signify?

When have you spend your money on things that brought no satisfaction?

 

Activity:  Make a list of a few of your biggest money mistakes.

  1. _________________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________
  4. _________________________________________________
  5. _________________________________________________

Why did you regret spending your money on these items?

If you could have back the money you spent on those items, what would the money allow you to do?

Read Luke 15:11 – 32—The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Think About: What does this parable teach us about money?

Read Proverbs 22:1  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

According to this verse, what is the measure of true wealth?

In this Bible study, we are going to consider how we can Honor God with our money.  Honoring God with money involves

(1) earning money honestly,

(2) spending money wisely,

(3) giving back to the work of the Lord a portion of our earnings, and

(4) sharing with those less fortunate than us.

Accomplishing all four of these goals requires understanding how God views money and having a plan for managing our money.

Life Application:

Proverbs 30:8  Give me neither poverty or riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.