Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(II Corinthians 9:7)
What is empowering through stewardship – simply? It is taking care of and sharing the gifts, talents, and resources that God has given us. This includes how we manage our finances, our time, our possessions, our environment, and our health. Stewardship defines our practical obedience in the administration of everything under our control and everything entrusted to us. It means as stewards of God, we are managers of that which belongs to God; and we are under His constant authority as we administer His affairs. Faithful stewardship means that we fully acknowledge we are not our own but belong to Christ, the Lord, who gave Himself for us.
Consider for a moment that everyone on earth has the same amount of time in every day; President, paper boy, housewife, executive, farmer, minister or student. We all have exactly 24 hours in each day, 168 hours in each week, and 525,600 minutes in each year. What would God have to consider regarding your use of his resources? Are you using your time and resources to grow God’s eternal kingdom?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The offerings we give back to God reveal our heart’s condition. A heart that overflows with gratitude for God’s love will respond unselfishly. What do your financial actions say about your heart for God? As you faithfully and consistently give of your tithes and offerings to the work of the Kingdom, what better way to actively demonstrate your love, obedience, and service to God by being a good steward of what God has given you.
“All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.”
Although money is an integral part of our lives, many of us lack a proper understanding of it. We may believe the only money problem we face is not having enough. However, many times we have an adequate amount but need to use it more wisely. Stewardship education is learning what God has to say about this area of our lives, then recognizing His authority over our lives and possessions.
God gives us freedom to determine how we want to spend money, but the Bible is very clear about what God expects from us. The fact that God put all things, including money, at our disposal means we have an obligation to use them according to His plan. To do that, we must seek His wisdom and understanding through the study of His Word and by taking advantage of the programs developed for you to become money wise and to achieve financial freedom.
An empowerment through stewardship series will be offered to clearly identify how we can best handle the resources that God has entrusted to us.
The word tithe means ten percent. In the Scripture, it is always the first ten percent of your gross income - the first and the best. It belongs to the Lord.
Every time you tithe, you acknowledge that God is on the throne, not self and not money. It is a reminder that God is the provider and that all you have is from him. When you tithe, you are demonstrating your trust in God even when things are not going your way. Finally, as you calculate the amount of your tithe, remember how much you have been given. When we remember God’s goodness to us and his many blessings, we put to death the selfish nature in each of us.
The Offering is an amount given to God above and beyond the tithe. This act of joyful giving is an outward material expressing of a deeper spiritual commitment, and an indication of a willing, obedient, and grateful heart. (II Cor. 9:6-15)
First Fruit Offering
In acknowledgement of the fact that all of the products of the land came from God, and to show thankfulness for his goodness, the Israelites brought an offering that represented a portion of the fruits that ripened first. These were looked on as a pledge of the coming harvest. It was given also in joyful recognition of what God had done, delivering them from slavery in Egypt and leading them to the Promise Land – a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, the First Fruit Offering is an amount given to God that equals one week of wages. Each year during the Lenten season, we enter a 40 day period of fasting and praying. This consecrated time is essential to us as believers and the offering is given on Easter Sunday. The offering symbolizes our trust in God for giving us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord at Calvary. Jesus is the first fruit of all who die in faith because the resurrection of believers is made possible and is guaranteed by his resurrection. The First Fruit Offering can also be given anytime during the year when you receive any money above and beyond your regular pay. We have been blessed to be a blessing and when we give, then we receive. For in order to harvest crops, we must first plant seed. Bring the Lord an offering to take care of his house and God Himself will take care of yours.
ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE
The Office of Accounting and Finance supports the Ray of Hope Christian Church by recording, processing, and maintaining an accurate record of all income received and all monies expended. This office develops and implements accounting practices in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. All financial transactions for the church are centralized under the Accounting and Finance Office, which is comprised of the following responsibilities:
- Accounts Payable
- Bank Reconciliation
- Book Store
- Check Processing & Distribution
- Conference and Event Registration Deposits
- Financial Statements
- General Accounting
- Member Contributions
- Ministry Accounts
- Payroll Operations