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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
(Part 1)

"A God Who Hates
"

“I hate robbery and injustice” (Is 61:8)

Robbery and injustice are two sides of the same coin. Robbery is the active taking away of what belongs to another. Injustice is depriving someone of what rightly belongs to him. When you point a gun or a knife at a person and steal his money, that is robbery. When you give wages below what is fitting, that is injustice. In both cases, you take or keep for yourself what does not belong to you.

When you fail to give a tithe, that is both robbery and injustice.

God says: “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Yet you say, ‘How must we return?’ Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and in offerings! You are indeed accursed, for you, the whole nation, rob me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” (Mal 3:7b-10a).

Isn’t this situation like that of many of our members, including our seniors? Even after many teachings on financial stewardship, they pretend not to know that they are robbing God when they fail to give a tithe. Or they give some amount and call it a tithe, pretending that they do not know that a tithe by definition is 10% of their income.

When we fail to give a tithe, this is what happens:

1. We are guilty of robbery. And we rob the very Person who is the source of all good things in our life. How dare we!
2. We are accursed. All other areas of our lives might be falling into good order, and we might be moving forward in holiness, but if we fail in this aspect, we cannot be considered good disciples or deserving servants. We are not holy! Thus we are not blessed but rather accursed.
3. We deprive God of what the tithe will be used for, that is, food in God’s house, that is, resources that are used by God’s people to bring life to others. In thus depriving God, we are depriving our neighbor, especially the poor, of what we ought to share with them. Thus we are guilty of injustice.
4. We deprive ourselves of the fullness of God’s blessings, of experiencing the God who cannot be outdone in generosity. When we return to God, He will return to us. The converse of course is true. Therefore we reap what we sow. Further, when God returns, He opens the floodgates, pouring down blessings without measure. Many fail to experience financial well-being because they have not learned this most basic of principles.
When we dare to not give back to God what belongs to Him in the first place, then we will fail in other aspects of justice. We become prone to greed and selfishness. We buy in to the values of the world, that of materialism, consumerism, dog-eat-dog competition, and the lust for money and power. We fail to care for and share with the poor.


What can help us in finally giving a full tithe to God?

1. Realize that all good things come from God, even our ability to earn a living or have a successful business. If just out of gratitude, we ought to give a tithe.
2. Realize that although all good things come from God, He is allowing us use of 90%! Thus, rather than being glum when we part with the 10%, we need to rejoice that we are left with so much more. The irony often is that as people’s incomes increase, they find it harder to give a full tithe, seeing the larger amounts involved. For example, one might be tithing faithfully on one’s salary, but would not think in terms of giving a full tithe on his retirement benefit or inheritance. We must never forget that for every peso we give as a tithe, we retain 9 pesos!
3. Realize the wonderful work we are doing as a community. Many marriages have been saved and many families have been strengthened. We are defending the culture of life and we are building communities among the poor. We are helping build a nation that will be God’s light to the world. Such is the great privilege we have from God. But we need to realize that we can hold back this work by our lack of true financial stewardship.
4. Realize that if we deliberately do not tithe, we are accursed. What would we like to hear at the end when we finally face the Lord? “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your Master’s joy.”? Or “You are indeed accursed ….”? I shudder to think what the consequences will be. “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9b-10). What an ungodly bunch! I would not want to belong there; how about you?
God hates robbery and injustice. But God loves you. Turn away from robbery and injustice, so that you may bring joy to your Father’s heart.

For group discussion in the household:
1. Am I the great pretender? Am I the accursed thief?
2. If you are not yet committed to give a full tithe, commit to one another the exact amount you pledge to give to CFC-FFL and your parish monthly.

(March 18, 2010)

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Financial Stewardship - Part 1[PDF]
 
 
 
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