Alvin Dark — Stewardship

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:28-33

Did you ever hear that famous verse, "God helps those who help themselves"? It's one of the most popular verses quoted by modern man today. And it's usually brought up to make one point: trust God all you want, but when it comes to making a living, brother, you're on your own!

   Actually, this statement cannot be found in the Bible. It is foreign to the spirit and teaching of the Bible. Instead, Jesus taught that caring for man's physical needs is just as much God's business as caring for man's

Page 76

spiritual needs. And if a man will trust Him, God will provide everything necessary.

   If we are really Christians, we do not work just "to make a living." If we play ball or clerk in a bank or sell neckties, it is because He has chosen to provide for our needs that way — not because we'd starve to death if we didn't.

   When the Braves traded me to the Giants in 1949, a cigarette company approached a number of players for testimonials. Five hundred dollars was paid for each player's quoted endorsement of the brand. But I explained that, as a Christian, I felt smoking and drinking were very harmful to most people and I didn't want to influence anybody to begin these two habits. Some of the boys couldn't understand how I could pass up $500 so easily.

   But the next day, Leo Durocher called me into his office to tell me I'd been appointed captain of the Giants for that year. With the appointment went a sum of money — exactly $500.

   We are tempted to feel that we are at the mercy of circumstances. But the fact of the matter is that we are masters of our circumstances when we put our faith in Christ. He has overcome the world and He invites us to share in His victory. ". . . we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 9:37). "He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

   Because of these mighty promises, we Christians are freed from the tight-fisted, fearful miserliness of the world around us. We are sons of the One who owns the universe and every resource of earth and heaven can be released in our assistance if He chooses.

Page 77

   I've been particularly blessed in being brought up in a Christian home where tithing was a regular practice. Giving the first tenth of my income back to God was just as unquestioned as putting on my socks before my shoes. And a nickel out of every fifty cents was quite a lot when I got up every day before dawn to pedal around my paper route. But as the years went by and my income increased, I found out I could never win in this game of giving to God. He always outgave me. He gave to me physically, financially and in a dozen other ways. He led me into a satisfying career in baseball and selected a wonderful girl to be my wife. And He has given me even more — salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ, peace of heart, joy, and the hope of heaven.

   I learned that tithing is just a symbol of my trust in Him. Actually, if I belong to Him, He owns me and my income too, all of it. Tithing is just a signpost that indicates the direction a man's soul is leaning.

   "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21).

Prayer

   Lord Jesus, keep me today from the world's fearful concern for self-preservation. Help me to see that You have promised to care for my every need. Grant me trust and joy as I commit my life to You. Amen.

Alvin Dark was an All-Star shortstop for the Boston Braves; team captain New York Giants; manager of pennant champions San Francisco Giants; coach Chicago Cubs. Advisory Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Chapter 18  ||  Table of Contents