February 5, 2017

Truths That Transform: Faith & Stewardship

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1

Thomas was the “Missouri apostle” – he wouldn’t believe the testimony of the other disciples who had seen the risen Christ unless he was shown. When they told him about having seen Jesus, he responded, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples and this time Thomas was present. In response to Thomas’s exclamation of worship, Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)

On one occasion, Jesus was approached by a centurion who asked him to heal his servant. Jesus offered to go to the centurion’s house, but the centurion declined, asking Jesus to simply say the word. “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” The centurion didn’t need to see Jesus act or see the healing; he simply believed that Jesus had the authority and that if Jesus said it, it would be so. Jesus was amazed that the centurion’s faith: “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” It wasn’t just that the centurion had faith to ask Jesus for a miracle; he had the faith to believe even if he didn’t see the miracle right away.

This is the same kind of faith that Jesus charges us to display in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:8, he assures us that God knows what we need before we ask him. After showing us how to pray in faith (Matthew 6:9-13), he returns to the topic of faith, promising us that God will take care of our needs as we seek his kingdom. As a result, we need not worry (Matthew 6:25-33) – for worry is, indeed, the opposite of faith.

There are many ways in which faith applies to our stewardship. We believe by faith that God will take care of our needs, as Jesus promised. We believe the wisdom of the Bible – that as we apply stewardship principles to our lives, God blesses both our desire to honor him and the practices we put in place.

Sometimes, we’ll see immediate results from our obedient stewardship. These times are blessings, and they can help increase our faith by showing us that God does indeed keep his promises. But these times don’t require much of an exercise of faith. We exercise faith when we give part of our earnings to God, even though there are bills to be paid. We exercise faith by saving wisely but not trusting in those savings for our security.

Faith is being sure of God’s provision when we haven’t yet seen it. Faith is trusting in God’s wisdom as revealed in His Word, rather than in the advice of the world. Faith is storing up treasures in heaven, safe but unseen, rather than accumulating treasures on earth, where they are seen but not safe. Faith is committing our finances to God in prayer, and responding to His leading.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. –Hebrews 11:6