Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Yours, Mine, Our" - A Message from Haggai to the Church Today

I am so grateful to Dr. Jim Farley, the man God used to open my eyes to the love of Jesus Christ.  When I was still a young college student, Jim taught me and others in our youth fellowship the value of Biblical stewardship.  Ever since, I have tried to be a faithful steward of my time, talents and treasure.

One of the greatest challenges facing individual believers is in the area of money management... "stewardship", in the Bible.  This is why the vast majority of churches struggle from month to month to pay its bills.  Thanks to Jim, it was easy to become a committed tither when I was making pennies compared to what I make now.  In the church, we have fallen into the practice of using what God has given us to manage for our own gain. More often than naught, Christians give the Lord a tip at the end of a month. This is why, statistically, the average "christian" home gives 2.5% of it's income to charities, of which the church is one.

My hope for you is that the Lord can speak to you a challenge that, when you trust him completely, will be a joy to you, helpful to the Kingdom, and pleasing to God as we return to faithful steward. Haggai presents some ageless principles that, when applied to stewardship, help us to accomplish the aforementioned.

I'm praying: as you listen, my Holy Spirit speak clearly. Then, that you would respond faithfully.  May God bless you as you take seriously his Word. And if you find this helpful, share it with others.  Thanks!

Peace, Kirk McCormick

Haggai’s Principles Applied to Personal Stewardship

Principle 1 – God owns everything.

Haggai 2:8 – “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts.”

Randy Alcorn (The Treasure Principle) - “We may try to divorce our faith and our finances; but God sees them as

Point:  God owns everything…and we’re only fooling ourselves if we think we ultimately control the resources he’s given.

Principle 2 - When we walk with the Lord, our future is brighter than the past…no matter how bright the past has been!

** God is letting Israel know…if you take care of my priorities FIRST... your future will be far more blessed than you can imagine.

Haggai 2:9 – “The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity (i.e.: Peace, contentment), says the LORD of hosts.”

II.  Four Profiles in Financial Stewardship

Profile 1 – Tupperware Tim and Tina

** Tupperware is used for?... managing the “leftovers”…so it is with so many Christians.

Point:  Tupperware Tim and Tina take care of THEIR desires/priorities/responsibilities …then, if anything remains, their Stewardship Philosophy = Let’s give God the leftovers.

Spiritual Characteristic:  Fear.

“Life” Mantra – “What if we run out?”

Alternative “Life” Verse – Jesus - “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

Profile 2 – Fair-Share Fred and Felicia

App:  Probably the most common approach to Financial Stewardship by people in the church, today.

Stewardship Philosophy – Let’s pay our dues…tell me what I owe and I’ll give my “fair share”.

Alternative “Life” Verse – Jesus said, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12:48b)

OVERALL Point:  Tupperware Tim/Tina and Fair-Share Fred/Felicia are owned/controlled by MONEY/WEALTH…

…instead of them controlling their money…it has control of them.

Profile 3 – Balanced Bob and Betty 
(The Partners of God)

Balanced Bob/Betty’s Spiritual Characteristic:  Trust.

Stewardship Philosophy – We want to be faithful and pleasing.

“Life” Verse - “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse… see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” (Malachi 3:10)

** Balanced Bob/Betty live what Jim Elliot wrote – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Profile 4 – Meet Sacrificial Stu and Sally  (God’s Caretakers)

Stewardship Philosophy – I cannot out-give God.

Spiritual Characteristic:  Generosity

…not just of their money…

…Sacrificial Stu/Sally are typically generous in their stewardship of time and talent/ability.

“Life” Verse – about whom Paul says, “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.”  (2 Corinthians 9:11)

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