Does God really care that much about financial stewardship? How much time and attention should a pastor give to the matter of finances?
Over the years I have heard that more than 2,000 verses in the Bible speak about money. While I’m unable to confirm the exact number, what I do know from reading the gospels is that Jesus talked often about money. And then, soon after the birth of the Church, along with miracles, signs, and numerous new converts, God turned aside from all the successes and fixed his attention on one financial sin. Ananias and Sapphira, instead of being authentic, genuine, and transparent, attempted to “look good” to the other members of that emerging body of believers. God cared so much that he acted. It’s the only place in the New Testament where we see God killing people on the spot. It’s apparent that he abhorred this sin.
Although you may be uncomfortable talking about money, Jesus commanded us to “make disciples.” And that includes solid teaching on financial stewardship. I have observed that churches with high levels of giving focus on the need of the giver to give instead of the need of the church to receive. Emphasizing the need of the giver to give raises your stewardship efforts from fundraising to the higher spiritual dimension of discipleship.
Years ago I heard a statement that rings true. There are two sides of every “giving coin.” On the one side is the need of the church for support; on the other side is the need of the giver to give. Both are important, but we must start with the need of the giver if we hope to take the “stew” out of stewardship.