Applying Bible Principles
“Faithful Stewards of God’s Infinite Grace”
Richard Longenecker wrote, “One of the more memorable expressions of antiquity is that of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator, who in 63 BC lamented, ‘O tempora! O mores!’ — ‘Oh, what times! Oh, what standards!’”
Those words could be uttered with authority today. Oh, what times! Oh, what standards! More and more, the defining line between the world’s system and true Christianity is becoming increasingly blurred. The differences between the forces of light and darkness are becoming more and more difficult to discern. All around us, instead of black and white, there seems to be a pallid gray tone to much of life.
This is very evident when it comes to giving. Many Christians have adopted the world’s standards and allowed them to dictate what, when and how much they should give. As a result, they give when it is convenient, when they feel like it, or when they happen to have some money left over (which is very seldom). Even when God blesses them with financial prosperity, they somehow manage to spend it all on themselves in a spirit of selfishness.
The Apostle Paul gave the first-century Christians this counsel: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come” (1 Cor. 16:2). That’s good counsel for these times. As God blesses our lives and gives us the ability to earn more and more, our giving should rise in direct proportion to His provision for us. As managers and stewards of what rightfully belongs to God, we should see a direct relationship between income and giving. As one increases, the other should as well.
Larry O’Nan wrote,
Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer only reports on the surrounding temperature. It has no ability to change its circumstances. It merely tells what currently reality is. A thermostat, on the other hand, not only reports the temperature, but also triggers action that changes circumstances. A thermostat helps to regulate its environment. The steward who is not actively or aggressively distributing time, talents and treasure is missing out on the opportunity to change his environment through changing people’s lives.
“Oh, what times! Oh, what standards!” said Cicero. But think about this: As we follow God’s instruction to give as He provides for us, we can make a difference. We can be “salt and light” in our lifestyles and in our use of His resources. We can be sanctified “thermostats” and be used by God to bring about divine changes in our “times” and in our “standards.” Will you?
STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
June’s Biblical Stewardship Principal: We should give as God has prospered us.
“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn. . . ”
(1 Cor. 16:2). (Effective Stewardship, June 2016)