“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.” – 2 Corinthians 6:1.
Many successful companies — including Apple, eBay, and Twitter — were built by multiple leaders whose productive relationships and combined skill-sets were a recipe for success. There is often a common trend in these partnerships: the most well-rounded pairs recognized their individual limitations and respected what the other could bring to a partnership.
God gives us the incredible privilege of partnering with Him in His kingdom work. In Philippians 1:3-5 the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” The Church at Philippi and Paul enjoyed a partnership between two parties who had common interests. The purpose of their relationship is to accomplish something that neither of them could do alone. Biblical partnership is not about what you can do for me or what I can do for you. Biblical partnership is about doing whatever each of us has to do to accomplish the vision or goal that we have set out to accomplish. Paul knew that he could not minister the gospel alone and neither could the Philippians. It took all of them together to accomplish this task.
We believe that God works to fulfill our vision as a church through partnership with people like you and me. Our mission is to see the whole world find and follow Jesus. That is a large undertaking and something that can’t be done as individuals. In order to help people find and follow Jesus, we need partners who will work with us to bring the gospel to those far from the heart of God.
What is your role in this partnership? Each of us has been gifted by God to play a specific role in the church. Which means if you aren’t engaged, something is missing and if you are not engaged you are missing something. We need everyone’s abilities, knowledge, skills and relationships. But it also involves giving. You may be thinking, sure, sounds good, but I have medical bills, the car needs tires, the kids need braces and the economy has all but flat-lined. So, if God owns everything – can’t He do most of this stuff Himself or at least help with some of my bills?
Partnering with God by giving are not simply “nice ideas” for which missionaries, pastors, Bible teachers and staff workers are responsible. The key to tithing is to consciously take this first step: hand over ownership of all your resources to God. You could look at it this way. You don’t have – and you never will have – enough money, possessions or time not to take this step. Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us: “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
Why does God want you to excel in the grace of giving? Because He influences the world through partnering with His people. God gives to you so that He can give through you. As you faithfully give, the world is changed for the glory of God; the gospel is preached; lives are impacted; people are fed; bodies are healed; churches are built and grown. And then you, in turn, are blessed by God so that we can give again. It is a divine partnership.
- Do you view your relationship with God a partnership? Why or why not?
- It has been said that our check books reveal our values and priorities. Do you think that is true? Why or why not?
- How has your response to tithing changed over the years?
- Besides giving money to the church, what are some ways we can honor the Lord with our wealth?
- What attitudes or circumstances prevent you from living generously? What can you do about them this week?