During last Sunday’s sermon we noted, without scriptural references, different groups (or different groups and scenarios) to which the New Testament encourages us to steward our money towards (or rather, God’s money that He graciously allows us to steward). The following simply provides some scriptural references (and is not in order of significance).
- Yourself and Your Own family—Including Relatives
This is where the majority of our money will be stewarded - and it includes future provision for ourselves and family.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. | 1 Timothy 5:8
These are strong words from Paul. As a Christian you are to strive to provide for your family and that extends to your parents and other close relatives.
- Fellow Believers in Difficult Circumstances
The context of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 which we looked at on Sunday relates to this group. While this was a corporate action (i.e. churches giving to churches), it shouldn't preclude individual believers giving to fellow believers who are struggling.
Paul's advice to the Galatians has a broader context than money but doesn’t preclude money:
‘Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’ | Galatians 6:10
Also, in Romans we are instructed:
‘Share with God’s people in need’. | Romans 12:13
Or consider Jesus' words:
‘“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’… ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’’ | Matt. 25:34-40
- The Needy or Poor
‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ | James 1:27
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" | Matt. 6:2
- Spiritual Leaders (considered as part of our giving to the church)
‘The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”’ | 1 Timothy 5:17-18
- Fellow Believers in General
‘Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.’ | 1 Peter 4:9
- Those Who Don’t Yet Believe...
(… or any cause or mission that seeks to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ—very important as we think about stewardship because there is no other name by which men and women can be saved.)
Paul was a church planter. When he planted churches, in order that the church he was seeking to establish didn’t think he was in the church planting business for personal financial gain, he often relied on finances from other churches (on other occasions he worked as a tent maker).
‘I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.’ | 2 Cor. 11:8-9
This provides us with the principle that the Christian should give in order to see the gospel flourish.
- The Government
‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. … This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.’ | Romans 13:1, 6-7,
God wishes His people to pay taxes and to be honest in their doing so.
You may be aware of other groups or scenarios that the New Testament encourages us to give to. Please Get in touch if you do!