Friday Devotional – October 16, 2020

Friday Devotional – October 16, 2020

In his book Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News About Living a Generous Life (Eerdmans), Mark Allan Powell defines stewardship as “giving 100 percent to God.” He says Christians don’t always understand this for two reasons: “First, churches often use the phrase ‘giving to God’ in a way that is synonymous with ‘giving to the church.’” The underlying idea, he presumes, is that the church acts as God’s agent in accepting our gifts and putting them to use in the ways God desires. “That may be true,” he says, “but the concepts of giving to God and giving to the church should not be simply equated. There are many ways of giving our money to God, and giving to the church is only one of these. As long as we think that ‘giving to God’ and ‘giving to the church’ are the same thing, the concept of 100 percent stewardship will be lost on us.”

A second reason Christians often fail to understand the 100 percent concept of stewardship, Powell says, is that “churches often recognize that the summons for Christians to give up everything they own is impractical and so they modify this biblical teaching in favor of a more realistic expectation. The concept of ‘percentage giving,’ especially tithing (giving 10 percent), comes into play as one way that Christians can provide some token fulfillment of what Scripture demands.”

Although Powell allows that the concept of giving a percentage of one’s income as a way of fulfilling one’s responsibilities to a religious institution does have biblical precedent, he says, “neither tithing nor percentage giving were ever meant to serve as a substitute for the expectation that all of our money will be used in God-pleasing ways. The point has never been that tithers should give 10 percent of their money to the church and then use the rest however they please.”

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