Once upon a time there was a man who had nothing, and God gave him ten apples. He gave him the first three apples to eat. He gave him the second three apples to trade for shelter from the sun and rain. He gave him the third three apples to trade for clothing to wear. He gave him the last apple so that he might have something to give back to God to show his gratitude for the other nine. The man ate the first three apples. He traded the second three apples for shelter. He traded the third three for clothing to wear. Then, he looked at the tenth apple, and it seemed larger and juicier that the rest. He reasoned that God had all the apples in the world, so the man ate the tenth apple, and gave God the core.
There are only two problems with this story. The first and most obvious problem is what the man returns to God. In eating the apple for himself and returning to God only the core, he reveals his own spiritual emptiness and the fact that his life is governed by his own selfish desires. The second problem is, Christian stewardship teaches that we are to give God the first apple, not the last. Only when we give our tenth to the Lord first, do we open our lives to His redemptive and re-ordering grace that somehow blesses and makes more adequate the remaining nine – tenth's. The Christian offers to God the first fruits of his labor, not the last. When we put God first, when we take that leap of faith by offering to God the first tenth, we learn, to our delight and amazement, that the remaining nine-tenth's goes much further than we ever thought possible!
Fredrick J. Streets stated, "When we turn our resources into a god, we can become obsessed with acquiring them, possessed by having obtained them and held captive by the fear of losing them."
Jesus warned, "Beware of all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses," Luke 12:15.
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida