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Stewardship: Introductory Bible Lesson

by William W. Orr (1905-1992)

While under the Old Testament law the Israelite was commanded to bring a tenth of his increase to God, under the principles of grace the believer is counted a steward or housekeeper or businessman for God. The money which he holds in his possession is not really his, but rather God's, and is given to the believer to use in life for the glory and honor of Christ (I Cor. 6:19-20).

The Christian should remember that in the acquiring of money his principle should be to do all to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). In the possessing of money he is to hold it only as God directs (I Tim. 6:17-18), and in the dispensing of money that God is sovereign over all (II Cor. 9:7-8).

The central New Testament passage on stewardship is from II Corinthians 8:1 to 9:15. There the divine principles of giving under grace are enunciated. First of all, Christ is our pattern. He did not give a tenth but gave all.

Then, the giving of the Corinthians was out of deep poverty. God is not dependent upon the wealth of earth to carry on His program. Rather, He delights to do great things through folks who have little or nothing. It is not the amount of the gift which is important in God's sight but rather the love which prompts it.

It is very important under grace to remember that giving is not by commandment. Under the law a tenth was commanded. Under grace the giving is voluntary. Yet, God has bound up both happiness and success in the Christian life with the love and gratitude which results in generous giving.

All giving should be cheerfully made. Without this God is not well pleased. Giving too should be systematic and regular. The Scriptures admonish laying aside an amount each week. This amount is to be placed in a special fund reserved for God's purposes. However, all giving is to be made following God's giving first to us. Thus, the responsibility first is God's, then the believer's. In addition to all of this, there is a challenge to give liberally and see how greatly God will respond (I Cor. 16:2).

From Believer's First Bible Course by William W. Orr. Wheaton, Ill.: Scripture Press, 1956.

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