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Research

Current Reasoning Patterns

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Stewardship Research Part XII

Determined from Interviews Personally and Forum Derived

Stewardship Research Part XII

The results of current thinking in American churches, is a lack of true understanding of Biblical precepts that state that faith produces gratitude that helps us be a cheerful steward; whereas the mindset is, it is all mine, I want to keep it, compared to the Biblical mindset, it all belongs to God I am His caretaker.

The current attitude that is hitting the pew is the idea that since God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) then you only need to tithe whatever amount you can "cheerfully" part with, whether it be two percent, five percent, ten percent, or none.Some people interpret these thoughts and behaviors to mean if they don't resent the amount they are tithing, and as long as they can feel happy, content, and generous about whatever amount they tithe, then, they can say they are "cheerful" givers. I do not believe that is what God intended at all.Since all that we have comes from Him, we should be cheerful and grateful that He allows us to keep the gross majority of what we are given. We should focus on being cheerful for what He has done for us! So many countries, governments, and agencies require a lot more from us than God does.The fact that He allows us to enjoy such a large part of His blessings should be a great source of happiness to everyone.Yet, so many begrudge Him even the little they are willing to return.

This concept of giving out of our conveniences is directly in opposition to what Scripture says (although nicely convenient!). Our giving "cheerfully" is the response of our gratitude for what He did for us, not a convenience to our wallets! We may not be mandated to give an exact amount or percentage, since we are under grace and not law as the Puritans argued, but they gave way more than a mere ten percent! So, look at this verse in its context (2 Cor. 9:6-15), especially verse six, and you will see that this popular thinking is wrong! This passage is an illustration from farming (Job. 4:8; Prov. 11:18; 22:8; Hos. 8:7; 10:12). Thus, when you give, your gift will be used as a seed that grows into a crop. The more you give, the more bounty there will be in the Kingdom. Both the seed of the gift and the maturity of the person who gives will grow. This is what Paul calls sufficiency, which means to be content in all circumstances. The opposite would be to be self-sufficient, and the book of Jeremiah tells us how much God hates that! Thus, we need to strive to see the beauty of giving and be cheerfully motivated. And, by the way, this passage has nothing to do with tithing; it was about giving to the poor!

Thus, the concept that the tithe is not a New Testament precept, however giving is. Thus, it is reasoned since the tithe is not ordered for us today, I do not need to give anything. This is true on the surface, as we need not add anything to our salvation to gain more grace; but the concept that is lacking is the inability to tie our gratitude to our Lord for what He has done for me, so we feel a willingness to give back to Him and His causes. The conviction of letting go of what He gives is not headed. The heart and the wallet are intimately tied together, and God knocking on the door of the soul is not opened when the carnal Christian, who has no desire or fortitude to grow in faith, sees His hand is out!

Scriptural Precepts of being a cheerful giver

"Isn't the cheerfulness we feel supposed to come from the opportunity to return this small, required percentage of our blessing to Him rather than from a satisfaction with giving God some fraction of the minimum that he asked us to give?"And the answer everyone to this is…? YEA! (Quotes from a missionary in Asia with whom we work.)

· Being a cheerful giver is about responding to God, not to our conveniences.

· Our giving is a pale comparison to the tremendous gift of grace we have been given (John 3:16)!

· We will end up robbing God when we refuse to give, or give too little. The most important investment we could ever make is in the Kingdom of God (Mal. 3: 8)!

· Remember, it is not just our money; it is our time, treasure, and talent. So, we give our time, gifts, and abilities of commitment and service to our Lord, and to His Church.

· We must be aware that our fallen human depravity will get in the way and rationalize the behaviors that we want to do over the call of the Lord!

The precepts listed from inductive research clearly contradict the common postmodern thinking in today's Church.

A Third informal study was conducted (to use the test-retest same form-different sampling.) At a The Greater Los Angles Sunday School Conference in April of 2004 in Southern California, 50 people who are in leadership in their church, Christian work, part-time or volunteers heavily at their church. The assumption is this sampling has a higher spiritual maturity coalition, and thus will be more active upon Biblical stewardship precepts:

Question

Felt Favorable

Felt Negative

Generally how do you feel when people or organizations ask for money?

41

9

How do you feel when ministries seek you, asking for funds?

44

6

How do you feel when your church seeks you, asking for funds?

48

2

Those who respond do you actually give?

45 (of 48 responders)

3

What about those organizations that you have prayed and supported personally prior?

39 (of 48 responders)

9

How do you respond to requests as opportunities to serve with your time? (if you have it available to do so)

40

10

How do you respond to requests as opportunities to serve with your spiritual gifts?

39

11

Do you believe that it is good to separate money and finances from our spiritual life?

47

3

Do you believe how you give is a reflection of our spiritual condition?

42

8

Do you give more than 5% of your income?

31 (of 48 responders)

17

Do you give cheerfully?

41

9

A Forth informal study was conducted (to use the test-retest same form-different sampling). At a Christian mission conference in October of 2004 in Southern California, 50 people who are in fulltime Christian work, part-time or volunteers heavily at their church. The assumption is this sampling has a higher spiritual maturity coalition, and thus will be more active upon Biblical stewardship precepts:

Question

Felt Favorable

Felt Negative

Generally how do you feel when people or organizations ask for money?

39

11

How do you feel when ministries seek you, asking for funds?

43

7

How do you feel when your church seeks you, asking for funds?

47

3

Those who respond do you actually give?

32 (of 47 responders)

15 (reasons stated that in full time Christian work they do not give money because they do not have it; rather give time instead)

What about those organizations that you have prayed and supported personally prior?

27 (of 47 responders)

20

How do you respond to requests as opportunities to serve with your time? (if you have it available to do so)

40

10

How do you respond to requests as opportunities to serve with your spiritual gifts?

48

2

Do you believe that it is good to separate money and finances from our spiritual life?

48

2

Do you believe how you give is a reflection of our spiritual condition?

37

13

Do you give more than 5% of your income?

13 (of 47 responders)

34

Do you give cheerfully?

41

9

 
These results clearly state that the more mature the person is in their spiritual formation, the greater sense to conform to Biblical principles and a greater cheerfulness to give. The reason why the statistics are not more favorable to this hypothesis, is the people in the third sampling state they are in Christian work already and see their time and talent already going fulltime and do not have the funds to contribute more.

© Research from 2001- 2004, revised 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/

© 2007 - 2018 Institute of Church Leadership Development - All Rights Reserved.
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