A better term might be “gracious gift.”
American society in general and Christians in particular have destroyed themselves. And we have done it under the guise of “Good Stewardship.”
Stewardship, as believed and practiced by the majority, has as its priority the preservation and conservation of resources. For some reason, ‘wise use’ hardly enters the picture.
In the movie “Pretty Woman,” with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, she would ask, “Why do you …?” His reply was always, “Because it’s the best.” It didn’t matter whether it was a seat at the opera, or a meal, or a hotel room, or a shirt. The best.
For reasons I won’t delineate here, we have left off having the best.
Notice how your mind immediately went to “I can’t afford the best!” Probably not.
But do you buy the best you can afford?
I remember growing up that many times my dad would complain about something. He would finish by saying, “I wish I could learn to buy quality.” He eventually did, but it was long process. Many children of the Depression Era had the same difficulty.
Do you consistently shop for the “best price?” Is that before, or after you have determined what is the best brand or quality?
However, this is all a side note to the real intent of this post.
Galatians 6:6-8~One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Many years ago there was a preacher who put out books, booklets, articles, and recordings. They were all listed as “Free as the Lord provides.” His ministry never lacked for funds. And people understood that they were a means of the Lord’s provision. When books were ordered, an offering was usually included. Those who had much gave much; those who had little gave little. The materials were sent whether an offering was included or not.
Over the years, that concept was lost. The preacher died, and his daughter has tried to keep the printed ministry going. However, few requests come with an offering attached.
The situation was summed up in one dear sister’s response. “When I read ‘Free as the Lord provides,’ I thought it meant it was free!” And those books are still ‘free.’ There is no charge. Ever. But they are not printed as often, because the funds simply are not there.
I saw in her statement how far we have regressed over the years; how much we have bought into the Babylonian ways of finance.
Look closely at the verses again from Galatians. They have been used in numerous ways, usually separate from each other.
If we take them together with the idea of sharing financially with those who teach us, we may gain some insight into the weakness that exists within the Body of Christ today.
Stated simply by the common cliche–“You get what you pay for.”
Using this passage with that understanding shows that what we reap is directly proportional to what we sow. Therefore, if a ministry puts its materials out on a free-will-offering basis, then we will only get from their work what we put into it.
It may be a powerfully anointed ministry, but we gain little from it.
I contend the reason is that we put little into it.
The ministry may not be hurt, but what we receive is. We put in little, we take out little.
Our bookshelves may be lined; our CD rack may be full; but our minds and hearts are not satisfied.
We have taken our ‘stewardship’ of God’s provision to mean that we should access all the ‘free’ stuff that we can, and then spend the money we have on ourselves. That is not stewardship. It is stupidity in the form of greed.
Proverbs 23:23~Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
APPLICATION: There are many “free’ sites on the web that help us with our Bible study. If you use any of them, have you sent them a donation?