“Take everything in my house for your mission, Elder Hare! The oriental carpets, the mahogany furniture, the china dishes—take them all! I can't use them anymore, and I would feel so much better if you had them.”
Mrs. Ling was one of the wealthiest women in Rangoon, Burma, and she was in an extremely generous mood. But as much as the missionaries had needed these things to help furnish their new clinic only months before, they were worthless now. The Japanese would invade the city tomorrow, and everyone was trying desperately to get out.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Ling. We really could have used your help three months ago when we asked—but we are preparing to leave within the hour with our few belongings, and we have no idea when we will be back.”
“But the Japanese will take them, possibly even destroy them. Please come and take them!” Mrs. Ling began to weep.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Ling, but you know that the government has ordered us to take only two suitcases each. We’re all packed now, and we have no room to take your things. It’s too late to give them now.”
“Too late! Too late!” Heedless of her fine silks, Mrs. Ling sank to her knees on the dusty road outside the mission compound, wailing loudly. “Oh, why did I wait? They will take everything from me. It’s too late!”
The Bible gives timeless principles on how to relate to our money and possessions. If we heed its counsels, we may be channels of great blessing. Ignoring its counsel will cause great sorrow and could even cause us to miss out on the treasures of eternal life.
John 10:10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
While eternal life is our ultimate goal, our Heavenly Father desires that our earthly life be blessed, too.
2. What attitude toward money did the apostle Paul caution against? Why?
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
3. What should we not do to become rich?
Proverbs 23:4 Labor not to be rich.
Labor in this context means to “overwork” or “wear oneself out.”
4. What should our attitude be toward possessions and wealth?
1 Timothy 6:7, 8 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
5. Who gives the righteous power to get wealth?
Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth.
6. Why is it important that we put our treasures in Heaven?
Matthew 6:19–21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.
2. What principle takes place in our lives when we give freely?
Proverbs 11:24, 25 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
3. If we ignore the poor, what will happen to our prayers?
Proverbs 21:13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
4. While we are never to forget the poor, who are we personally responsible to support?
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
An infidel in this context is an unbeliever.
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?
2. How much should we give?
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee.
3. How should we feel about what we give to God?
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
4. What happens when we give?
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
5. In what way could we rob God? What are the consequences of doing so?
Malachi 3:8, 9 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Notice that tithes and offerings are two different things. Let’s study about tithe next.
Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.
The Hebrew word for tithe in the Bible literally means “one-tenth.”
2. Do we return God’s tithe after we have paid everything else, or do we return His tithe first?
Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.
When running a business, the increase is the money that you gain as a profit. If you were paid twenty dollars for mowing someone’s lawn, but your supplies for mowing the lawn cost five dollars, you tithe on the fifteen dollars profit.
3. Where should we take our tithe?
Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lordof hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
4. Who specifically should receive tithe?
1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
5. If we faithfully return His tithe, what does God promise?
Proverbs 3:9, 10 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
I pledge to honor God with my money and possessions and to share, as I am able, with those who have less.