Biblically Based Money Management Planning
Stewardship, Part 1
The Law of Reciprocity
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and Prove Me NOW by it says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devour for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field?and all the nations of the world shall call you blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-12
The Law of Reciprocity comes from Luke 6:38 in which Jesus teaches us to give and we will receive; not necessarily from the same source we gave to, unless our gift is to the Lord. The Lord is the One who receives our gift, even when we give to others in need (as unto Him), and He initiates the return to us in the same measure, “pressed down, shaken together, running over,” He causes men to give unto our bosom.
In reviewing the basic theologies of money as related to Christians, we examine not just the quantity of our giving, but most critical, the quality of our giving. There are three typical views for our ability to give: Poverty, Prosperity, and Stewardship.
Money is Bad. If you do not have money you cannot be corrupted. If this is true, we should all be striving to not work or make a living, so that we can at least become poor. Then we must make every effort to stay poor.
- If Money is Bad, where will the money come to spread the gospel and pay ministers to equip the believers?
- If Christians do not reach out and feed and minister to the poor, who will do it?
Matt 27:57-60 (rich man, Joseph of Arimathea)
Mark 10:23-27 (rich young ruler)
The followers of Christ were definitely not just the poor. Someone was ready and able to distribute to the poor for the Gospel’s sake. Further, holding on to wealth is no more sinful than those who cling to a poverty, poor-me, or handout mentality are.
Get all the money you can! You are a descendent of Abraham and all the riches are yours! If you do good works, you deserve a reward!
- If getting money was the right motive, why did Jesus get so angry with the moneychangers in the temple?
- If getting rich is the right motive, why did Jesus say it was so difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom?
Matt 6:24 (unable to serve two masters)
Mark 12:41-44 (rich offerings and the widow’s mite)
Luke 11:39-42 (buying the best seats/positions with your offering)
James 4:1-3 (consuming wealth on our own lusts)
God is not so concerned in getting wealth to us as finding obedient servants who will allow Him to get wealth through us! We must continually war with the commercial influence on our flesh. It’s not about us! The wealth is about getting the saving relationship of Jesus Christ out to every soul we touch with our daily lives, experiences, even how we personally handle heartaches and obstacles.
If you are blessed, you have a “Fiduciary Responsibility” to manage God’s resources. A wise steward uses wisdom to properly distribute resources. If you are struggling- God’s desire is for you to properly manage what you have. Prove that you can be trusted with more. Get an attitude that you work for a “giving” and not just a “living.” Persons who confess that God provides for their needs are actually being selfish. God is not blessing you just to cover your needs. Providing for your needs should not be your motive for working. Even the pagans work for their own profit. We should be working to have excess for giving to those in need above and beyond our own needs.
CHECK YOUR HEART!
If you are tithing and not receiving blessings, check your heart. Harboring unforgiveness will block the flow of prosperity God has directed toward you from your Heavenly account. We once went through a very dry spell during which we were tithing, teaching cell groups, working with new convert classes at church, teaching Sunday School-everything. The whole time we were questioning God “Why are we not increasing according to the Law of Reciprocity?” Being so busy with starting a ministry, working several jobs, putting one of our daughters through college, we had overlooked a major flaw in our heart condition. The Lord gave Ray a cartoon image in which he was holding a water hose, the spout only trickling drips of water. As Ray looked back over his shoulder he was amazed to see a huge swollen hose ready to burst with water. He was shaking the hose saying, “What’s the deal, Lord? There’s all that water ballooning in the hose, but I’m only getting a trickle!” As Ray followed the hose from the sky down to his hands, he looked down and -BEHOLD! He was standing on the hose!! We quickly recognized the contention and animosity we were holding against someone-who even deserved our unforgiveness- and leaped off that hose. Just as promised, the Lord began pouring blessings through every available vessel we had gathered. Learn to recognize your shortcomings and receive quick correction.
Phil 4:10-13 (sent offerings to Paul; knew how to be content with little or and abundance) I Tim 6:6-10 (those who crave to be rich fall into temptation) I Tim 6:18 (be rich in good works, liberal and generous of heart, ready to share) Heb 13:5-6 (be free from the love of money, craving for earthly possessions)
Also: Mark 10:20 Luke 12:48 Matt 25:14-30 Acts 4:32
When we sow our seed according to the Law of Reciprocity, we should first
- Determine the size of your desired harvest
- Plant the amount of seed to produce the amount of harvest you need to fund ministries.
- Pray God’s abundant blessing and protection over the return.
- Speak His word of Malachi 3:10-11.
- “but, my God shall supply all your need according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus.”
Man’s Definition of need:
10 rows of crop to feed the family for the year.
If you plant 10 rows you have a drought or flood and only produce 5 rows! You have to borrow the other 5 rows and you are forced to eat your seed for next year’s crop. People fail and fall short of God’s best because they do not anticipate obstacles.
God’s (and Grandma’s) Definition of need:
15 rows of crop to feed everyone for the year
The amount necessary for adequate survival PLUS the surplus to provide for tithe, gifts, offerings and the future. Plant 15 rows:10 rows for your family 1½ rows for the tithe (expect increased growth) 1 row for the poor/gifts/offerings (unexpected God sends to you) 2½ rows for emergency/loss, or extra seed for next year. Grandma knew she needed to have extra so the Lord could send people to her who might be hungry. What a revelation to the Church!
Work for a Giving-not just a Living!!!
In Giving to the Lord’s work, under Old Covenant Law, believers were required to:
- Give 10% of the First Fruits Gross, up front
- Give a second 10% for the priests, widows, and poor
- Give 1/3 tithe every three years to cover travel expenses to Jerusalem to worship
This calculated out to an average of 23% annual tithe requirement for all Jews out of their income. Under Jewish Law any one who did not give the required amount were considered to be “robbing God”. (Malachi 3:8) Further, God was not obligated to “rebuke the devourer for their sakes,” if they did not tithe. According to Deuteronomy 28, they brought upon themselves the curses poverty and lack if they did not “keep My statutes and do those things which are pleasing in My sight.”
In giving to the Lord’s work, under the New Covenant Law, we are judged by what is in our heart. This is actually a much stricter standard, especially when God looks on our hearts, not the local Rabbi or Priest. So, because blessings will be measured back to us with the same measure we give (Luke 6:38), we must be sincere and totally honest with what we give out as tithes and offerings.