Letter from the Senior Pastor
Finances at DRCC: Your Role and God’s Promise
Stewardship is the Bible’s key word in the area of finances. In Scripture, a steward is the trusted manager of his master’s resources. He is granted authority and freedom in his management, while remembering a steward is not the owner, but only the manager of his Lord’s resources. The steward will give an accounting for how he used the resources entrusted to him. Jesus taught us that we are stewards of God’s resources: the managers, not the ultimate owners, of all our time, treasure and talents (Matthew 25:14-39). Everything we have is a gift from God, including our next breath.
Stewardship is a partnership with God in which He grants us life, capacities, gifts and resources. In turn, we give to Him our obedient trust and faithfulness in using all these resources in a God-honoring way. This changes our financial landscape from a: “Mine, all mine…my precious” Gollum-like attitude of tight-fisted possession, to open-handed, joyful generosity rooted in our trust and security in God’s power, provision and concern for our needs.
The giving-question shifts from how much of my resources does God require me to give Him—and why; to how much of God’s resources should I keep for myself—and why. Deciding the real owner determines our attitude.
The Bible’s benchmark for stewardship is the tithe (tenth), which, in the Old Testament was always the first-fruits tenth of any type of increase. In the New Testament, God’s call for a tithe does not diminish, it deepens into the radical call to give over everything we have and all our heart, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the Lordship of Christ for His service (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The tithe remains Jesus’ tangible benchmark or starting point for growing in radical generosity (Matthew 23:23). The tithe is backed by God’s covenant promise that is unmatched for the clarity of its positive challenge: “Bring the whole tithe into My storehouse that there may be provision in My house. Test Me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it!” Malachi 3:10. Wow!
Consider who it is speaking. This is not an offer to pass on lightly. The LORD Almighty calls us to a choice about how we view/use resources. The way we respond to the choice of stewardship or ownership has great consequences for every part of life (Matthew 24:44-51). Giving breaks the grip of greed, grows our trust and teaches us the priority of relationships over things. The ripple effect of tithing in individual lives, in marriages and families is beautiful. I see it often.
Jesus said that how we manage financial resources is a crucial indicator of the depth and reality of our trust in Him as Lord. The true financial question is not: Can I trust God? Rather the real question is: Can God trust me? Repeatedly Jesus warns that, more than any other form of idolatry, it is money which most easily reigns as a pseudo-god supplanting the true God in our hearts (Matthew 6:24).
So as we trust God to the point of being active partners of all the resources He entrusts to us, then in even deeper ways God can begin to trust us with Kingdom gifts. He knows we will not be reservoirs but rivers of His resources. Living this way really begins the adventure described in Ephesians 3:20-21: Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or even imagine according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus in all generations, now and forever. Amen.
I see this adventure beginning here at Damascus Road. And we have yet to see or even imagine to what heights the risen Christ will take a unified, transparent, high-integrity community of people who trust themselves and their God-given resources into God’s hands for God’s glory. The best is yet to come.
In His Grace,
Richard Fredericks Ph.D.