Success or failure in any field of endeavor depends largely upon one’s attitude. It was Solomon who wrote, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Someone has said, “Our attitude determines our altitude.” I believe that is so true. We will never exceed our attitudes. It is attitude that keeps many people from having a clear understanding of stewardship. Brother N.B. Hardeman reportedly said, “The reception of any truth depends upon the attitude one has toward it.”
This may account for the many ugly remarks we hear about such a subject as this. When the preacher teaches a lesson on giving, some covetous brothers will be heard to say, “All they ever talk about is money,” or “All the preacher ever preaches on is giving. One man was heard to say, “I don’t care what they say, I’m not giving anymore.” I have never known of a person who had the right attitude toward stewardship who objected to sermons on the subject.
We are critical of our religious friends because of the attitude they have toward the truth on the church or baptism or the Lord’s Supper. We need to stop and take a long hard look at our attitude toward the subject of stewardship. When we do, I believe we will understand why we are not growing as we should. I also believe we will understand why we are not preaching the gospel to the whole world. We will never be right with God until we get our attitude right toward stewardship. E.A. Hungerford said, “It is not altogether unlikely that a wrong attitude toward money stands between more people and their right relationship to God than any one thing” (Rust As A Witness, by V.P. Black, page 75).
This leads us to ask the question, “What should my attitude be toward stewardship?” First of all, if my attitude is right, I will recognize that God is the great proprietor of all. Everything belongs to God by right of creation. Notice these verses and observe what belongs to God.
The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalms 24:1).
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine” (Psalm 50:10-11).
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8).
There is nothing that man can give to God that He did not already own. Everything that man has in his possession is a gift from the benevolent hand of Jehovah. The Bible teaches, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) I once heard a story that illustrates the attitude that so many people have toward their possessions.
A certain preacher noticed a little girl in a department store with her nose pressed up against the glass at a candy counter. The child was in rags and dirty. It was obvious that she longed for some of the chocolate candy that her eyes were fixed upon. The preacher gave the salesclerk a quarter and instructed the clerk to give the little girl some of the candy. When the girl received the bag of candy, at once she began to stuff her mouth full.
Oh, how she was enjoying it. Then the preacher asked if he might have a piece of the candy. Immediately the little girl clutched the bag and ran out of the store shouting, “It’s mine, it’s mine!” You may say the girl is an ingrate, but let us put the spotlight where it belongs. We talk about “our” money, “our” house, “our” car, “our” farm, etc. and fail to realize that it all belongs to God.
Also, if my attitude is right toward stewardship, I will cultivate a hatred for covetousness. Jesus warned of this terrible sin. “Take heed and beware of covetousness.” (Luke 12:15) One reason that covetousness is such a dangerous sin is that it is so deceitful. A person can be eaten up with it and not be aware of it. Covetousness is to the soul what cancer is to the body. A covetousness man was overheard to say in a doctor’s office, “I made $55,000 last year and I give $8.00 or $10.00 every time I go to church.” This man doubtless believed that he was making a great contribution. How many are there in the Lord’s church who are not giving as they ought because of the sin of covetousness?
Furthermore, if my attitude is right toward stewardship, I will give God my best. God has never been satisfied with less than man’s best in any age of the world. In the Old Testament God was repulsed by the lame, sickly offerings of the Jews. “Behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord.” (Malachi 1:13) God refused to accept the offerings of the Jews when they failed to give their best and He will not accept our offerings today unless we are giving Him our best. Many members of the church spend all their money for self and give the Lord some of the scraps that are left over. We need to realize that God will not accept our scraps. He wants and deserves our best.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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