THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
MONEY FOR MISSION – 2
January 15, 2018
Christians are destined for greatness. In order to become
great in Christ, we must be walking in holiness, living out
authentic discipleship and servanthood, embracing the cross,
striving for Christian perfection. Now there is one more thing
required, something much more mundane and profane, but just
as needed to be able to attain to the greatness that God has
destined us for.
is money. Specifically, it is about financial stewardship.
In fact, when we talk of holiness and discipleship, it is
about giving all to God. Oftentimes, in the lives of Christians
who have met Christ and are striving to live Christ, the last
thing to be surrendered is money. One cannot be authentically
holy or a true disciple if one withholds important areas of
life from the lordship of Christ.
as Jesus has emphasized, “No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted
to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
(Mt 6:24). Too many Christians, while not openly professing
it, have chosen mammon over God. Paul warns about “immorality,
impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.”
(Col 3:5b). Greed for mammon is idolatry. And mind you, mammon
is a heartless taskmaster. The more you cling to it, the more
enslaved you become.
How have Christians failed in the area of financial stewardship?
They have not given God what is His due. Specifically, they
have not given their tithes for the use of the Kingdom. A
tithe by definition is 10% of one’s income.
is what God tells His people through the prophet Malachi.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse” (Mal
3:10a). Now some say this is Old Testament teaching and is
no longer relevant today, that tithing is no longer required
by God. But the teaching on tithing is in the New Testament.
Jesus affirmed the tithe. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment
and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without
neglecting the others.” (Mt 23:23). We are not to neglect
fact, the tithe is the minimum. Perhaps it was no longer emphasized
in the New Testament, because the requirements for financial
stewardship became so much more. Jesus commended the poor
widow for giving what little she had, all of her livelihood.
She gave not 10% but 100%! Paul commended the churches of
Macedonia as they gave financial aid to Jerusalem, “for
in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy
and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity
on their part” (2 Cor 8:2). They gave “beyond
their means, spontaneously” (2 Cor 8:3b). In fact, “they
begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the
service to the holy ones” (2 Cor 8:4). Amazing. They
gave generously out of their poverty. Self-sacrificially.
Joyfully. Spontaneously. Insistently.
What was the context of the prophetic word of Malachi? It
was given to Israel, the people of God. Now we are the new
Israel. So this word is for us also.
loved Israel, His very own people. But they did not reciprocate
His love. They were disobedient and rebellious. “Since
the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes
and have not kept them.” (Mal 3:7a). It is the same
situation now as it was then. What were God’s people
There was divorce. “Did he not make them one, with
flesh and spirit? And what does the One require? Godly offspring!
You should be on guard, then, for your life, and do not
break faith with the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,
says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Mal 3:15-16a).
Today there is widespread divorce, legal in practically
all countries. There is also contraception, abortion and
same-sex marriage, all intended not to beget children. And
the few children being begotten are not being raised to
There were great sinners who exulted in their evildoing.
“You have wearied the Lord with your words, yet you
say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘All
evildoers are good in the sight of the Lord, and he is pleased
with them,’ or ‘Where is the just God?’”
(Mal 3:17). Today a tsunami of evil has overwhelmed the
whole world. People no longer have a sense of sin. Those
who are mindful of their sin look to the mercy of God 
but not to His justice.
There was social injustice. There were “those who
deprive a laborer of wages, oppress a widow or an orphan,
or turn aside a resident alien” (Mal 3:5b). Today
there is massive poverty, and great oppression of the poor
priests were remiss in their priestly duty. They profaned
the Lord’s table, “offering defiled food on
my altar!” (Mal 1:7a). “But you profane it by
saying that the Lord’s table is defiled, and its food
may be disdained.” (Mal 1:12). Today there are priests
in the Western world that defile the altar by putting an
LGBT banner on it, and violate the Eucharist by giving Communion
to unrepentant sinners (like those living in adultery or
in active same-sex unions).
priests were not rightly educating and forming the people.
“For a priest’s lips preserve knowledge, and
instruction is to be sought from his mouth, because he is
the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned
aside from the way, and have caused many to stumble by your
instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says
the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 2:7-8). Today many priests
have become politically correct, not wanting to offend people
by telling them that their actions are sinful. They are
practicing false mercy.
was cynicism regarding God. “You have said, ‘It
is useless to serve God; what do we gain by observing God’s
requirements’” (Mal 3:14a)? Today there is mass
apostasy. Christians have turned away from God in droves,
and have embraced the zeitgeist.
Now all the above are terribly wrong. But there is one more.
It is failing to give God what is His due, by way of our tithes.
Did you ever think you were stealing from God when you did
not give him His 10%? Maybe not. Well, think again. “Can
anyone rob God? But you are robbing me! And you say, ‘How
have we robbed you?’ Of tithes and contributions!”
(Mal 3:8). We are robbing God because everything we have belongs
to Him, and we are mere stewards. Now if God expects us to
return 10% of His money to Him, and we do not, then what does
that make us?
mindful of the evil that is stealing. It is one of the Ten
Commandments: “You shall not steal.” (Ex 20:15).
Paul says that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of
God. The unjust or unrighteous include thieves, the greedy,
and robbers (1 Cor 6:9-10). We are told by Paul not even to
associate with such people. “But I now write to you
not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral,
greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber,
not even to eat with such a person.” (1 Cor 5:11). Greed
and robbery are lumped together with such evils as immorality,
idolatry, slander and drunkenness.
many Christians today, especially Catholics, are thieves.
Even upon learning about the tithe that is to be returned
to God, they would say, “Why should we return?”
(Mal 3:7c). When told about theft of God’s money, they
would say, “How have we robbed you?” (Mal 3:8b).
But how is all this related to greatness? Christians today
are unaware of the reciprocal ways of God. Consider what Jesus
teaches about forgiveness. “If you forgive others their
transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But
if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive
your transgressions.” (Mt 6:14-15). Clear enough, isn’t
it? Consider what the prophet Azariah said to King Asa: “if
you abandon him, he will abandon you.” (2 Chr 15:2c).
Consider what God said through Moses about the angel He was
sending to guard His people Israel: “If you obey him
and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies
and a foe to your foes.” (Ex 23:22). God is saying to
His people: if you do this, then I will do this.
we apply the principle to money. God says: “Return to
me, that I may return to you, says the Lord of hosts.”
(Mal 3:7b). Now just like forgiveness, where God forgives
our much greater debt than what we forgive others,
what God will return to us is incomparable to what we give
Him. Here is God’s promise, or challenge if you will.
“Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, and see
if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour
down upon you blessing without measure!” (Mal 3:10c).
Open up the floodgates of heaven! Pour down blessing without
measure! Now that is abundance. That is great blessing.
abundance is needed for the Church to be able to do her massive
evangelistic and missionary work, which takes a lot of money
to do. There are workers to be hired and paid, mission trips
to be funded, structures to be built, those in need to be
helped out. All that money comes from God’s people.
we hold back, reluctant to part with more money for God. It
is pathetic that we only look at what we give to God and not
see what we would get in return. We only
see what goes out, not what could have come in. “I will
rebuke the locust for you so that it will not destroy your
crops, and the vine in the field will not be barren, says
the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:11). If we had given our
tithe, we could have been protected from economic calamity,
or could have had a much bigger harvest. The return to us
would be so much bigger than the return to God. God is never
outdone in generosity. Unfortunately we are “penny wise
and pound foolish.”
in fact, we are accursed. “You are indeed accursed,
for you, the whole nation, rob me.” (Mal 3:9). To be
accursed is the opposite of greatness in Christ.
what do we need to do? “Bring the whole tithe into the
storehouse” (Mal 3:10a). For what purpose? “That
there may be food in my house.” (Mal 3:10b). Food is
life-giving. The tithe is used by the Church to provide formation,
care and services that bring the very life of Christ into
the lives of people.
tithes fund the mission of the Church. The Church is evangelistic
and missionary, and is to proclaim the good news of salvation
to the whole world. She is to make disciples of all the nations,
which will look to the people of God as the blessing that
they have become to them. “All the nations will call
you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the Lord
of hosts.” (Mal 3:12).
destined Israel for greatness, to witness to the whole world
about Him as the one, true God. Today, God wants the new Israel,
Christians, to soar to greatness as well, for His very same
purposes. “For I, the Lord, do not change” (Mal
are destined for greatness. Do not let “your”
money stand in your way.
personal reflection and household discussion:
1) Do you honor God with generous financial giving? If you
have any disagreement with what I have written above, I
encourage you to email me your point of view so I can explain
things to you (email@example.com). I just want you to be
on the right side of God when it comes to finances and stewardship.
2) Our community has many opportunities to expand God’s
work greatly. One big obstacle is the lack of funds. Can
you commit to give money to CFC-FFL each and every month?
The tithe can be an ideal, but you will have to get into
the habit of actually giving, even starting with smaller
Of course God is merciful, but He requires repentance for
the forgiveness of sin.
 Those who persist in serious and unrepented wrongdoing
will be meted punishment as they deserve.
 See parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.
 We of course do not give to God simply because we will
get more in return. We give because we are obedient to God’s
commands, and we want to help do His work.
 We keep our tithe and end up forgoing a much bigger return.