Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Is this the truth? If I live a godly Christian life, I will do well financially.
No, that’s a myth.
Norman Versteeg believed that, because he planned to be a tithing Christian, he would do well financially.
In November 2007, he wrote an article in the North American Division’s Stewardship Newsletter about his experience. First he quoted 1 Chronicles 29:9, that tells how the Israelites felt after they had provided their offerings for the building of the temple. This verse says:
Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly. (End of passage)
“It sounded like a way for me to get some of God’s money,” Norman wrote. “He obviously had plenty. Financial gain was a powerful motivation for returning tithe. I was 17 years old.
The corn crop was to help finance my college education. I ploughed the ground at the proper time. I cultivated and fertilized religiously. The irrigation water kept the corn growing during dry times. I expected God to bless me with a bumper crop, because I was planning to return a faithful tithe.
God had other plans.
Fall came early that year (in western Oregon). Cool, wet days followed each other endlessly. The crop and my investment were lost.
But I wasn’t. God can still see me through tough times. God is still God.”
“Tithing isn’t a way for me to get some of God’s money,” wrote Norman. “It’s a way for God to get all of me. I am His and so is what I sometimes think of as mine. Tithing is a way to express my love and loyalty to God no matter what happens. God knows how to starve selfishness and nourish assistance.”
Norman Versteeg ended his article with these words: “I am rich.”
As the Apostle Paul introduces his instruction to Timothy regarding money, he introduces it in a way we might not have considered. His instruction begins in 1 Timothy 6:3, 4 and a bit of verse 5.
Here’s what he wrote:
"If anyone teaches otherwise (false doctrines) and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine that accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such, withdraw yourself.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts that drown men into destruction and perdition.”
Paul’s next words speak to the myth that money is the root of all evil. Verse 10 records this:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
We have much to learn as Paul writes starting in verse 17:
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be haughty (arrogant), nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
As we continue to build the Biblical Framework of our Financial Stewardship Strategy, surely we need to include these verses in 1 Timothy 6:3-10 and then verses 17-19.
American author, Ellen White, wrote: “The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God’s gifts. By imparting, they increase their blessings.”
God has promised us a sufficiency so that we can continue to give.”
May we believe God’s promised sufficiency so that we do continue to give. Amen.