“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Thoughts on Stewardship – Lessons from Genesis
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 28:18-22
Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Genesis 28:18-22 NKJV
1. Right after Jacob saw the vision of the ladder with the angels ascending and descending, he took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. Then he made a vow to the Lord – with some conditions. He asked this of God:
a. If God will be with me
b. If God will keep me in the way that I go
c. If He will give me bread to eat
d. If He will give me raiment – clothing – to put on
e. So that I come to my father’s house in peace – so that I die content and satisfied; in right-standing with God
2. Then Jacob made his vow. He spelled out his commitment to the Lord and what he promised to do in order to maintain his covenant with Almighty God:
a. He made a sincere, heartfelt, committed vow – a covenant promise that he would keep all of his life
b. Jacob promised God at least one tenth of all He gave him from then on. Jacob felt that if God would do these things for him then the least he could do would be to give God one tenth of his increase!
c. A covenant is a two-way street. God takes you at your word and expects you to take Him at His. When you make a promise or a vow, God acts to empower you to keep your promise. If you do not keep your word after God has kept His, it is like a slap in His face. Jacob kept his vow to God and so, even in the middle of an extreme seven-year famine, he and his family were protected and provided for.
Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
How many of us really, truly appreciate what God, through Jesus, has done for us? I am sure that if we really believed and understood God’s undying, unconditional, sacrificial love for us, we would do most things very differently. We would be much more committed to God; we would be much more willing and generous in all our dealings with Him; we would be more prompt to obey Him; we would be more grateful for all He has done for us. What do you think that God’s “love language” is? Do you speak His love language? Do you know that God is so thrilled when his kids really love Him and show it? How does God know that you genuinely love Him beyond your lip service? How do you demonstrate your love for God? Do you praise Him with your heart and lips? Do you spend time with Him? Do you obey Him? Do you love your neighbor? Do you tithe? Do you sow financially into His Kingdom? Your tithe is not just supporting the Gospel – your tithe is your covenant promise to God that enables you to remain blessed all the days of your life.
Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
There is something about a vow that causes God to respond – He responds to genuineness, sincerity and faith. Throughout the scriptures, we see men making various vows to God. We see that God always honored His part and kept His vows, but unfortunately the men who made vows to God did not always keep their vows or honor their part. In our lives, Adonica and I have made several vows to the Lord. We made vows of consecration – I first made this vow when I was young and single. When we were married, we made a covenant vow to God and each other that we would be committed to each other. I made a vow to God at my brother’s death-bed and another one at my daughter’s and I have endeavored with all my heart and might to keep every one of them.
Remember, that anything you ask God for must be something He already promised in His word. Once you make a vow, God watches to see what we will do. If we will keep our word, He will keep His; He will do what we have asked of Him. God will meet us on the basis of our vow. If you have never done this then take a step of faith and make a vow and see what God will do.
Prayer and Confession:
Father, I thank you that You honor Your word and that You watch over Your word to perform it. As I make my vows to You and as I purpose, with all my heart, to keep my part I know that you will watch over your word and bring it to pass.