How much of your stuff belongs to God? Some say 10%. Others say more, maybe as much as half, or whatever we don’t need to live. Hmm.
In actuality, poor Americans give about 3% of their income to charitable causes, wealthy Americans about 1.5%. * Here, the statistics define “charity” as everything from God to the university.
The concept of tithing is an Old Testament teaching absent in the New Testament. Yet, we are all familiar with the expectation of the tithe—even though the principle of tithing teaches follower of Christ stewardship based upon Old Testament guidelines.
What is the distinction between Old Testament and New Testament theology regarding our holdings?
God asked a small portion off the top from the Old Testament folks. Today, as New Testament Believers and recipients of all of God’s fortune through Christ, God does not ask for a portion. As those bought with a price, He asks for all!
Everything belongs to God, including our lives (Col 3:4). It is through grace that He privileges us to participate in stewarding His goods, talents invested in us, and repositories of truth that benefit others. Simply stated, we are stewards of God’s stuff.
Until we understand that God owns everything and we own nothing we will consistently mismanage the possessions within our care. Especially in the western world, the temptation is to use the things money affords to attempt our own creation of heaven on earth. But this shortchanges the desires of our hearts and kills the passion that fuels us through life toward our eternity in heaven.
* As examples: Giving USA 2012; http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/04/why-the-rich-dont-give/309254/; http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics