Tag Archives: stewardship
I don’t like talking about debt. But I spend a lot of time talking (and writing) about debt. Mainly because our nation is drowning in debt. From the recent college graduate with $80,000 in student loans, to the middle-aged working class adults that are still paying off student loans but have added a mortgage, car payments, credit car balances, and a home equity line; our nation has a serious debt crisis.
According to an article at Business Insider that published the results of a Trading Economics study, out of 30 countries, America ranks #10 for having the most debt. Americans have a collective $1.14 trillion in auto debt, $1.28 trillion in student loans, and $8.82 trillion in mortgage debt. The total household debt of Americans is up to $8.82 trillion (as of the third quarter of 2016).
These numbers give America a household-debt-to-GDP number of 78.8%; making us the country with the 10th highest debt.
I can’t help but wonder how many of my Christian friends have decided to “just buy one” in hopes of winning. No doubt it is with the promise that they will tithe and feed a small nation that they justify their purchase of what they hope will be a life-changing ticket. (Cue “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
While we dream of how large sums of money would change our life we need to come face to face with the reality that at times our dreams are full of envy and idolatry; and we lack faith and thankfulness. This is easily seen in the definition of “large sums of money” from one country to the next. As people cross our borders in hopes of making $30,000 a year working I am reminded that there is a family living in a tent in Haiti.
I was further convicted of my own selfish greed by John Piper’s blog post entitled “7 Reasons Not to Play the Lottery.”
Piper, speaking to both Christians and people in general (which is presumably why he did not title his post “7 Reasons Christians Should Not Play the Lottery”), lays out a case for being wise stewards of all that we’ve been given. More than that he argues that the lottery is enabling poverty and keeping people from growing out of poverty. Some of his reasons include:
The interview posted below is an excellent reminder of the need for Christians to be characterized by giving. It seems Christians have almost bought into the idea that government should take care of people, rather than the church. This is used to justify tithing and giving less. I commend this interview and the principles taught as a great place to start a discussion on stewardship.
The Scary Truth About Christian Giving
Interview by Rob Moll
The Bible gives a two-sided portrayal of wealth: It is good, but it can seduce us into sin. The solution, according to New Testament scholar Craig L. Blomberg, is to freely share it. In Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship (Zondervan), Blomberg, who teaches at Denver Seminary, argues that sacrificial giving is an essential part of good stewardship. He spoke with CT editor at large Rob Moll about our spending patterns and whether Christians are required to tithe.
If, as you argue, Christians are no longer bound by the Old Testament principle of tithing, what’s so bad about low rates of giving?
Over the past 40 years, self-identified evangelicals have given between 2 and 3 percent of their incomes to churches and Christian organizations. Stewardship is a crucial part of the Christian life, and according to these figures, it is sadly lacking.