You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides-NLT here.
Brief overview: God tells us to be good stewards of our time, money and talents that He has given to us. They are to be used to help spread the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:24-28, Malachi 3:8-10, 1 Corinthians 9:13-14
Why it is important to understand the truth about stewardship:
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2
Why it is important to understand stewardship in light of the cross:
Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”
Pastor Wurmrband and his friends practiced “tithing” even in prison not because God needed their bread and soap, but because they needed a way to express their love for God. That is what stewardship is all about; using our time, money and talents to say, “thank you God for loving me and giving us your Son.” Just like a little boy who takes his allowance money to buy a Father’s Day gift, in reality the boy is only returning what the father has already given. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s take a look at how we can thank God for “His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).”
In my home I had a plaque with a picture of the Cross, and the words, “I asked Jesus how much do you love me, this much he said, and then he spread out his arms and died.” Jesus does not need our money, that really is not what the tithe and offering system is all about. He has given us the tithing and offering system so when He asks us, “How much do you love me” we will have a way to answer.
Further Study on Stewardship
What belongs to God?
For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Psalms 50:10-12 NLT
What besides the earth is His?
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalms 24:1 NLT
Aside from creation why are we God’s?
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT
What is required of a steward?
Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
What will a faithful steward always remember?
One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. Levitcus 27:30 NLT
What was this tenth to be used for?
As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel. Numbers 18:21 NLT
What is it used for today?
Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.1 Corinthians 9:13-14 NLT
Which tenth is God’s?
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Proverbs 3:9 NLT
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: Proverbs 3:9 KJV
Note: We are to give God the best of what we have, as well as returning our offerings first, instead of just waiting to see what is left over after all our other expenses.
What do we do if we withhold tithe and offering?
Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you? “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Malachi 3:8- 9 NLT
What does God want us to prove Him about?
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Malachi 3:10 NLT
Does he promise to care for us?
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Matthew 6:26-32 NLT
What should be placed first in our lives?
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT
How much above the tithe is the offering to be?
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6- 7 NLT
What besides our possessions should we be good stewards of?
Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:16 NLT
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 KJV
Note: God has given us time and talents to be used for Him as well. God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:9-11, 27, 28; Eph. 4:8, 11-16; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter
Do you want to hear Jesus say this to you?
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21 NLT