Lately, I’ve been exposed to financial education about how we can better manage our financial resources. First, I got the chance to learn from my Christian community, CFC-FFL Singapore on one our Covenant Recollection on Financial Stewardship with Carlos Cammayo as the speaker. I want to start sharing these very powerful passage from the bible (mine is New International Version) Luke 21: 1-4 The Widow’s Offering (more popularly know as The Story of Widow’s Mite) 1 As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts in the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. (Greek two lepta) 3 “I tell you the truth,” he said,”this poor widow has put in more that all the others. 4 All these people give their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” The lesson is about the enduring value of faith. Her modest gift of two mites represented all that she had compared to the pretentious contributions of the wealthy. I must admit that for me this is a hard act to follow or perhaps my faith is that small compared to her.
There are 3 basic ways we can make use of our finances in the Lord:
1. Almsgiving – making voluntary contributions to aid the poor like giving money, food, clothes, goods or other needs. Proverbs 19:17 – He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.
2. Resource sharing – an example given was a brother who voluntarily share his car for fetching a guest or a couple who make use of their home for teaching and gathering purposes.
3. Tithing – by definition, tithe is a tenth part of ones annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or church. In other words, tithing is giving 10% of our income for the Lord’s work.
a) Scriptural basis: Malachi 3:7-10 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food 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.”
So we are robbing God if we do not tithe yet everything is own by God. We owe God whatever we presently have and what we will have in the future. Psalms 24:1 says1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
b.) Tithing is a measure of our spiritual growth – it is a measure of our conversion of being self-less. It conditions our heart and mind to be generous, to think in the mindset of abundance and not on the scarcity mentality. Be a happy giver or a go-giver.
c.) The proper perspective – tithing is God’s way of giving us the privilege of being His co-workers. We give tithe to support God’s work to develop/train leaders, the resource to create a new heaven for new disciples. Focus not so much on the 10% we give, but on the 90% we keep for ourselves.
Lastly, within those times I had an opportunity to connect with another set of friends to play Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow 101 board game.The first objective is to be able to get out of the rat race by exceeding your total expenses with your passive income (cashflow you get from your investments in real estate, stocks/dividends, and other business). There was an instant where I landed on the charity spot whereby you have an option to give 10% of your total income in exchange for the use of 2 dices instead of one. You will have this option on each of your next 3 turns. I managed to roll a higher total of number and this prompted me to get 2 paychecks in just a single turn. So my point is that even with just a game, the rewards of giving in this case 10% charity provided me unexpectedly twice my salary. I was actually the first one to get out of the rat race because of the other strategies that I have done with my investments.
For our reflection, 1. do you understand that everything belongs to God and you are just a steward? 2. How do you see yourself in terms of the measures of spiritual growth?