The Promise of Stewardship

The Promise of Stewardship

July 20, 2022
The Promise of Stewardship
Elder Letter by Gene Mermilliod

You may be surprised to learn that as a young man in my twenties, even in the early years of my service to the Lord as a youth pastor, I was a thief. Another way to put it biblically is that I was a God robber. In the book of Malachi, the Lord speaks to His people and asks a question, then immediately pronounces a startling accusation. He asks,

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” [Malachi 3:8]

The Lord could have easily spoken these words to me as a young man. To be honest, I knew that I was walking in disobedience to the Lord in the spiritual discipline of giving, but I was afraid. You may ask, “Afraid of what?” I was afraid that I couldn’t afford to tithe. How could I be expected to give to the Lord when our finances were already tight and with little margin?

The fact is, I was walking by sight, and not by faith in God as my provider. I did not understand my role as a steward of the resources God had entrusted to me. And I was ashamed of my unfaithfulness to the Lord. I was shocked to read that God would call me a thief. But then I read verse 9.

“You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me…” [Malachi 3:9a]

I realized at that moment that I was indeed cursed. We were strapped financially as a family because I had mismanaged God’s provisions, and He could not bless my unfaithfulness. In Hebrews 11 we are told, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” [Hebrews 11:6]

I had to face the hard question, “How big was my God?” Was He big enough to truly be my provider? I did believe that God existed, but did I believe that He would reward me if I fully put my trust in Him? Well, by my actions the answer was a resounding NO! Then, I came to verse 10. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” [Malachi 3:10]

Are you kidding me? I didn’t think we were supposed to put God to the test. Yet, here He invites us to do just that with regard to the tithe. I realized the Lord was reaching out to me at that moment and asking me to surrender my lack of faith to Him, and see if He wouldn’t bless me as a faithful follower of Christ. With God’s help, I determined to submit to Christ in my giving to His kingdom purposes through my church. And you know what? God was true to His word. Look at verse 11. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field casts its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts.

I suddenly realized that my God was indeed a BIG God. That I could walk by faith and trust Him to provide for our needs as a family. This change of heart came at a critical time in my life. We were about to start a family. Little did I know that the Lord would bless us with six (count them) six children.

I desperately needed to learn how to walk by faith if I was to survive an extended family. But more importantly, if I was to please the Lord and honor Him. Look at verse 12. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. [Malachi 3:12]

Obviously, God was speaking to the nation of Israel, but these verses have direct application to us as Jesus Followers. Looking back, I realize that I have been greatly blessed in my finances and in my walk of faith with the Lord. Oh, I am not a wealthy man, and yet, the Lord enabled Gayle and me to raise six children. We always had a roof over our heads, three square meals a day, and appropriate attire for every occasion.

More than that, the Lord has blessed us to be part of a great church for the past 32 years, to have discipled scores of men and women who are now serving Christ by faith in local churches and on the mission field, and has enabled us to travel the world on mission with Him. Does it get any better than that? Actually, it does. For one day we will see our Lord face to face without being ashamed because I repented from being a God robber, to become a faithful contributor to His kingdom purposes and gospel advancement around the world.

Over the years God has revealed to me the joy of giving and working in partnership with Him by learning to sacrificially and cheerfully steward the resources He has entrusted to me through regular financial giving.

This is one promise every member of TCBC has made . Are you faithfully keeping your promise to walk by faith with an amazing God who wants to prove Himself strong to you? You can. Put the Lord to the test in this and see if He doesn’t open up the windows of heaven for you as well.

May you be blessed as you pursue Christ by faith,
By His grace,

Gene Mermilliod

Elder/ Care Pastor

Gene Mermilliod serves as the Stewardship Pastor and Elder of Tri-Cities Baptist Church and has served on staff since 1990. He is married to his wife Gayle and they have six children (Paul, Josh, Joel, Cara, Peter, Daniel).