The Oxford Dictionary definition of a steward is:
Pause awhile and consider how accurately those words define a true believer's
responsibilities in the service of the King of Kings. For are we not managers in
the Royal Household, working on an estate which spans the mighty universe? Are
we not supplying spiritual food to fellow passengers on a craft (our planet)
which is hurtling through space? And are we not officials in the greatest
race of all - the one for eternal life?
- A person employed to manage another's property, especially a great house or estate.
- One whose job is to arrange for the supply of food to a college or club.
- A passenger's attendant and waiter on a ship or aircraft.
- One of the officials managing a race-meeting or show.
To be sure we are all these things and infinitely more, and that is why the
Saviour refers to his followers as ‘stewards’ when he says:
| Luke 12:
||42: “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season?|
43: Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.”
This lesson has been designed to briefly explain a major duty in stewardship;
just what you as a steward are required to do in the Royal Household of Yahweh
the Holy One of Israel. It will show how you are, in fact, a co-labourer with
the Most High and how that even the poorest believer - by worldly standards -
can be a “faithful and wise steward” in the royal household of faith.
The lesson will outline Yahweh's appointed arrangements for the financing of His
work and the personal responsibility of each steward. It is the final lesson of
the Bible Course and contains a sobering challenge to every Christian committed to
spreading the truth in his/her area. You may be sure that if you put this
lesson into practice, the Everlasting Gospel will reach a thousand people in
your country where now it is reaching only one.
1. The Present Scene
Consider for a moment how the various Church groups and Charitable organizations
raise money to finance their work. The methods used include:
The list is long to say the least and no doubt one could add to it without any
trouble; and tell of how sincere believers all over the world strive to raise
funds for the charity of their choice.
- Buying and selling shares on the Stock Market
- Renting real estate to the public
- Sales of Work, Jumble Sales
- Raffles, lotteries, sweepstakes, whist drives, football pools
- Sponsored walks, marathons and race meetings
- House to house and street collections
- Coffee mornings, concerts, plays and displays
- And the buying and selling of articles: prayer cloths, books, records, candles, holy water, cards and souvenirs of various kinds etc.
Please do not think that we are decrying their efforts or doubting their motives
- because we are not. But here are some solemn questions for consideration.
Are you sure that the Almighty wants the Everlasting Gospel financed by these
methods? Do you honestly think that He who designed the great Plan of
Salvation and paid for man's redemption with His own life blood had such methods
in mind when He founded His Church and through His Son gave this staggering commission:
||18: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.|
19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
For our part we must confess that praise-worthy though a few of those money-raising methods
are, and most of us have taken part in them - not one of them bears the
stamp of divine authority. Yes it is an unequivocal fact, that nowhere in the
Holy Scriptures will you find Yahweh instructing His people to raise money for
the Gospel Work by any of the above mentioned methods. They may be perfectly
suitable for other causes; they may be the main channels of revenue for scores
of charities in Canada and abroad; they may be fine as far as worthwhile
secular projects go; but in the final analysis we must admit - they are not
the divinely authorized method for financing the Everlasting Gospel!
Could it be that herein lies the cause of the Church's financial problems; that
somehow - perhaps even inadvertently - the church has allowed itself to become
commercialized and wandered away from the truth? And could it be that by
ignoring the Almighty's appointed way and resorting to human alternatives to
raise funds, many groups have paved the way to economic ruin and in some cases
are almost bankrupt?
We think that this may well be the case; that in this very important matter of
‘church finance,’ many sincere groups have not understood the divine plan and
have failed to tell individual believers of their responsibilities in the work
of the Most High. For, make no mistake about it, Yahweh has a plan for
financing His work, a plan which includes every member of His Church - no
matter how insignificant or poor they may reckon themselves to be.
Without much ado, let us open to you the financial secrets of a vibrant Gospel
work. Let us show you Yahweh's plan for taking the Truth to the whole world;
and, more importantly, where you as a steward in the Royal Household fit into
the picture. Here is the divine method encapsulated in a single command.
2. The Almighty’s Appointed Way
||10:“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in
mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith 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.”
Yes, believe it or not, the paying of ‘tithes’ is the Almighty's appointed way
for meeting the financial needs of His Church; for providing spiritual and
physical food for the starving masses of humanity. The tithe is to be used:
- To publish the truth, which is likened to spiritual food.
- To help the widow, the orphan and the needy with physical food.
- And to support the ministry.
- (Deuteronomy 14: 22-29, Nehemiah 10: 35-39, 2 Chronicles 31: 5-6, Numbers 18: 23-32)
3. What is the Tithe?
On the agricultural level the tithe is one tenth of the literal harvest, a tenth
of the crop, a tenth of the oxen and sheep born each year in the fold and a
tenth of the wine and oil harvest. On the industrial level the tithe consists
of a tenth of one's earnings. For example if a man earns $10.00 a week, the tithe
on that amount would be $1.00. And if he earned $100.00 per week the tithe would be
$10.00. Every believer in the Almighty is commanded to bring in the tithe just as
they did in ancient days.
4. Who does the Tithe belong to?
The tithe is Yahweh’s, it belongs to Him. When we return the tithe to God, we
are not really ‘paying’ Him anything; because, strictly speaking, the tithe is His in
the first place. We are simply returning to the Almighty His share of the harvest.
We use the word share because when a person becomes a true believer in the
Almighty he/she immediately becomes a co-worker and shareholder with God
in the Vineyard of Salvation. And every ‘shareholder’ in this divine company
has, amongst other things, this solemn responsibility:
To return to the Almighty His share of the harvest - the tithe!
For His part Yahweh provides us with life, health, inherent ability,
opportunities, the earth with its abundant supply of raw materials and, last but
not least, the immeasurable blessings afforded by His very presence.
For our part we provide the willingness, perseverance and the physical or
mental effort required to produce meaningful results. At harvest time, nine
tenths of the harvest is our share and one tenth - the tithe - goes to the
Almighty. That is the divinely appointed share-out.
Pause awhile and consider this generous arrangement? Have you ever come
across a better employer? Do you personally know of any business, any
enterprise, any company, any organization where that kind of a deal is given to
the workers? We are absolutely certain that you have not, because there just
isn't another. Oh how generous is the Almighty, how benevolent His dealings,
how far-reaching His plans.
5. What does The Almighty do with His Share?
When a true believer returns to Yahweh His tithe, do you suppose that He keeps it for
Himself? Do you think He desperately needs our money in the first place? You
may be sure that He doesn't. The Almighty God of Israel is a Being of limitless
resources and He doesn't need our money or our food to keep Him going. Indeed
the cattle on a thousand hills and all the gold in the world's banks belong to
Him anyway. (Psalm 50: 10-13, Haggai 2: 8)
“Then why,” you may well ask, “does He command us to give Him
a tenth of our meagre earnings?”
The answer is: because we believers are stewards in the Royal Household of Faith
and each of us has a responsibility towards our fellow human beings. We all
have a position to fill, a commission to carry out and a job to do in the Royal
Household; and we will never spiritually mature until we shoulder those
responsibilities and meet our obligations. And so to each one of us Yahweh says this:
“Bring the tithe into the storehouse,
that there may
be food (spiritual and physical) in my household.”
Yes, the Most High has commanded every believer to set aside the divine portion -
His Tithe - for the proclamation of His Truth and the sustenance of fellow
believers. And that is where all true believers come into the picture, for
we are all stewards in the Royal Household of Faith.
The Most High could, of course, easily bypass the above method of tithing and
provide spiritual and physical food for humanity some other way. But He has
chosen not to do so. If He had, we believers would never really appreciate
the valuable lessons of stewardship, responsibility and a job well done.
If Yahweh had excluded His servants from all responsibility and bore the cost of
every enterprise alone, we would be no better than cattle in a stall - totally
oblivious of the meaning of duty and eternally unaware of how we could have in a
small way - sacrificed for the benefit of others. Instead, the Most High
has lifted us high above the level of brute beasts and allowed us the
privilege, through sacrifice, of becoming responsible co-workers with Him in
the Vineyard of Salvation. And when we shoulder our responsibilities and return
to Yahweh His tithe we become 'active shareholders' in the divine company,
‘co-labourers’ with Him in the greatest project this universe has ever witnessed.
6. Prove Yahweh, put Him to the Test
Consider for a moment this amazing challenge:
| Malachi 3:
|| 10: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith 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.
11: And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
12: And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.”
“Prove me” (put me to the test, give me a try) says the Creator to you!
Oh what astonishing humility is here displayed, that the Almighty God of Israel
must needs speak to His people in this way in order that we will bring His
share (the tithe) to Him. Listen to His solitary reason for requesting it:
“That there may be meat in mine house”
Yes that is why the Almighty is asking for His share of the harvest, “that there
may be meat in His house:” meat for his servants, His flock to eat and be
satisfied. Pause awhile dear reader and try to appreciate the astonishing worth
of that single reason. Is it not proof of Yahweh's amazing love for His
creatures, for the poor, the hungry and the lost? It is the same love that
prompted His Son to say to the Apostle Peter: “feed my lambs”
and “feed my sheep.”
(John 21: 15-17)
You may be sure that if every believer brought in the tithe, which is an
unmistakable sign of where the heart is (Luke 12: 34) there would be absolutely
no shortages of any kind in the world today. The Most High would, as promised,
“open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” on
His people and the world, the like of which the sons and daughters of men would hardly
contain. Yes, it is virtually impossible to imagine the effect on this world if the whole
Christian Church carried out that single command.
7. Suppose a believer refuses to tithe, is he/she sinning?
We take no pleasure in publishing this fact, but the answer is yes. The
commandment to tithe is still on the statute books of heaven and it is a sin to
ignore it. In fact it is theft from the Almighty God and is followed by a curse:
||8: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.|
9: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
There are, of course, other spiritual issues far more important than paying
tithes; issues like justice, mercy and faith.
The Saviour referred to these ‘weightier matters of the Law’
when he said in:
||23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint
and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law,
judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done,
and not to leave the other undone.”
Notice how the Messiah instructed us to practice the weightier matters
of the law, but not to neglect the matter of tithing.
8. Where does one send Yahweh’s tithe?
In ancient days the tithe was collected by the Aaronic priesthood which was the
physical counterpart of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Melchizedek Priesthood
is the highest Order of Priests in the universe and it is still in existence.
All true believers in Yahweh are subject to its jurisdiction. Some are even
priests in that eternal Priesthood.
|1 Peter 2:
||9: “But you are a chosen race, a Royal Priesthood, a dedicated nation,
and a people claimed by God for His own, to proclaim the triumphs of
him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the High Priest of the Melchizedek
Priesthood. (Psalm 110: 1-4, Hebrews 6: 20, 7: 14-21) Therefore, to be in line
with the Almighty's instructions the tithe should go to Yeshua, the High Priest
of that Royal Order.
The Melchizedek Priesthood like its Aaronic counterpart is:
||5: “Commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people.”
How, then, do we give Jesus Christ the tithe? Obviously we cannot send it to heaven
where he is. So what do we do with it; which group should we send it to?
Where are the other priests of the Melchizedek Priesthood? Our advice to you
is as follows:
And when you have thoroughly examined each one of these points, then send
Yahweh's tithe to the work you think comes closest to those standards: one
that feeds the flock of God rather than spends its resources on well-meaning but
spiritually barren projects. Remember that you have a responsibility to ensure
that Yahweh’s tithe is not wasted.
- Carefully examine the teachings of the various groups in the light
of the Scriptures and hold fast to that which is true.
- Then list the groups who are feeding the flock with Truth.
- Always be on your guard against the spirit of commercialism in the
church and of leaders who have a tendency for luxurious living.
- Also watch closely the personal lives of the leaders; for you may
be certain that if they blatantly break Yahweh's law they have no
place in the Priesthood of Melchizedek.
9. The Rewards
Never imagine that the service of the Almighty is all sacrifice and no gain.
Yahweh and His Son, as we have already pointed out, are Beings of unimaginable
love and generosity. And they have scheduled themselves to repay a hundredfold
every sacrifice believers may make in the cause of duty. Consider this beautiful promise:
||42: “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
||29: “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
Peter said, 'Lord, do you intend this parable specially for us or is it for everyone?' The Lord said,
||42:“Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make
ruler over His household to give their portion of meat in due
season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find
so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over
all that he hath.”
And there you have it, perhaps one of the greatest challenges you have ever come
across, to be a faithful and wise Steward in the Household of the King of
Kings. It is a highly responsible post we will admit, and one that will call
for sacrifice; but the rewards are great - greater by far than anything you can imagine.
Are you willing to take up your duties?
In the Son’s Name For the Father’s Glory
Elder: Max W. Mader
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada