Thursday, July 19, 2007

A biblical theology of giving

Stewardship Services is an organisation that has been established to assist Christian believers and the church as a whole in the matter of giving and financial administration. On their website, they say:
We see Stewardship as more than a service. It is a value - a lifestyle choice that recognises God's ownership of all that we have.

Our approach is twofold:

• Facilitating effective giving - serving over 20,000 donors, we distribute more than £30 million of giving into God's world every year.
• Promoting biblical principles and practice - of joyful giving, planned stewardship, and generosity.
As a church treasurer, I found the attitude of Stewardship Services considerably more servant-like than CAF - who, after all, are less specifically a Christian organisation.

Derek Bigg, the author of "In Pursuit of the Truth", was invited by them to contribute an article for their website, "Christian Stewardship: A Biblical Perspective". The article explores some of the ideas covered in the last chapter of his book relating to our use of money.
As we now consider what the way of grace means for us today, we must first of all accept that the New Testament contains no direct teaching on regular, long-term giving. We only have the apostle Paul’s instructions in his letters to Corinth regarding a special collection. As with so many practical issues, we must look for the basic principles underlying the specific teaching given in the 1st century. We then have to apply them to our own 21st century situation. In 2 Corinthians 8-9 we find five principles of major significance. Here they are:
• Adopt the right attitude.
• Let your heart be the arbiter.
• Give in proportion to blessing received.
• Aim for Christian equality.
• Follow the example of Christ.