2/21/2006

Stewardship Week Two: Because I Feel Like It

Last time you saw my face on the back of this newspaper I explained the first of five reasons why I practice stewardship: because it’s easy. I confessed that when I compare material surrender to other types of internal surrender, I find financial stewardship to be easier than those more important parts of the Christian life. I also argued that stewardship is just as applicable to time, energy and talent, as it is to money, and therefore our paradigm for stewardship should encompass everything—not just a meager ten percent of our finances. This week will allow us a look at the second of my five reasons for practicing a radical stewardship: because I feel like it.

It is a cruel tactic to lower the biblical standard of righteousness by downplaying the role of feelings in Christian obedience. Godly emotions are commanded on every page of the Bible: joy, heart-felt peace, gratitude, fear, zeal, grief, contrition, and eagerness—just to mention a few (Mt 10:28, Col 3:15, Rom 12:11,15, Ps 51:17, Eph 5:20, 1 Pt 5:1-2). Emotion is inseparably tied to obedience.

Giving is no exception. "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7). I realize that we have heard Christian teachers tell us that the Christian life is not about emotions, but my Bible tells me to give “cheerfully.” It’s true that the biblical scope of obedience goes beyond my feelings to include my every action (1 Cor 10:31). However, that doesn’t mean that my emotions aren’t important. I find it biblically necessary to refuse a false dichotomy which forces me to choose between emotions and action. I must give (action) cheerfully (emotion). Both are commanded of me in the Bible—particularly with respect to giving.

If we give just because we have to, we do not glorify God. God demands that we give cheerfully. Therefore, I strive by the grace of God not just to give, but to feel like giving. That is, I strive to have the feeling of cheerfulness at the thought of giving my whole life to the things of God. Money is just one small, relatively easy part of that.

12 Comments:

Blogger Ryan S. said...

John Piper is offering The Passion of Christ for less than $1 a book in a special promotion offer, as 'Resurrection Sunday' is around the corner. That's good to give, and get beyond the hit and run evangelism, and leave the 'evangelized' with something Scriptural and substantive to ponder on.

http://www.desiringgod.org/news_events/promos/2006_easter_outreach.html

Thu Feb 23, 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

I'm liking these posts Bradley

Thu Feb 23, 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Ryan - Thanks for the tip Ryan. Piper always seems to be practically giving stuff away.

Bethy - Your comments are always encouraging. Good to know someone is reading :)

Fri Feb 24, 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Bradley - I saw your face on the back of the Western Recorder again last week.. keep bringing the truth, brother!

BTW- did I already tell you that we do want to borrow those tables? It's exactly the number that we need for the reception! Praise the Lord for provision!

PS: Are they long or round tables?

Don't be a stranger, B-diddy!

Mon Feb 27, 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Celucien joseph said...

Hello Bradley,

I just want to say a quick hello. You may not remember me. Anyway, We've had theology of New Testament together with Seifrid. I am Lou, Charle's friend from Haiti.

I hope that helps you to remember who I am.

Blessings,

Lou

Tue Feb 28, 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Lou, do you go to Walnut Street Baptist Church?

Tue Feb 28, 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Donna, you saw my face "again"? I've only been published once so far.

Tue Feb 28, 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Celucien joseph said...

Bradley,

I used to go to attend Walnut baptist church. But I do have a good friend of mine attending Walnut,his name is Luckner Jean-Marie.
Anyhow, I moved to Fort Worth, Texas to do doctoral studies.

I like your last post!

Tue Feb 28, 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

aThanks Lou. Luckner is currently filling in for Angela (the director of our social ministries at Walnut). I have had the privledge of getting to know him also. So what are you studying and where exactly?

Wed Mar 01, 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Cake-Oh! Keiko said...

Hey! Bradley,
Thank you for giving a ride
when it rained like "dogs and cats"
and when I was like a helpless lamb to be slaughtered ;)

About "giving," some propose to see the Christian hedonism the following way:
- Matthew 6:1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;
otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is "in heaven." ...
4 that your alms may be "in secret";
and your Father who sees "in secret" will repay you.
6b and your Father who sees "in secret" will repay you.
- Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven;
but he who does the will of My Father who is "in heaven."

- I heard that the original phrase in Greek "en tw kruptw (in secret)" has somehow a significant link with "en toi ouvranoi (in heaven)" here.

- In our inmost beings, in secret, when we are broken, we see Him in His presense.
- O, Lo, may Your kingdom of heaven come. Come, Jesus. Come quickly.

Sat Mar 11, 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happen to your 5 part series in the Western Recorder???

Fri Mar 17, 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Bradley said...

yeah...sorry...about that...
They will still be published, but not consecutively.

Fri Mar 17, 11:57:00 PM  

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