Stewardship General (12-5-20)
The holy Bible is clear: There is only one God. You and I are not Him. It tells us that God created everything that exists; therefore, everything that exists belongs to Him. The Bible is also clear to tell us that the ultimate reason why everything exists is for His eternal glory!
Romans 11:36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!
So, we exist for God’s glory! The problem is like the first created man and woman, we have chosen to love ourselves more than God, and we want our lives to go the way we want and not the way God wants. So, in sin, we make our lives about our glory! Because of our sin, our aim is to want to have things our way. What we fail to realize is doing it “our way” is our sin! We fail to accept that what we deserve for our sin—our betrayal, our idolatry—is death.
Even though we deserve death, even though our actions clearly make us enemies of God, in His infinite mercy, God promised that He would come to us to redeem His people. The great hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God has fulfilled His promise to redeem His people.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (NLT).
Praise God forever and ever, because He commissioned His blameless Son to the cross that we deserved so that we could be given the eternal satisfying life with God that only Jesus deserves. Because of what Jesus has done, we have new life in Christ! Not only are our sins paid for by Jesus’ death, but our lives’ motivations are restored to live for God above all else!
The gospel is not God blessing us so we can glorify ourselves. The gospel is God blessing us so HE can be glorified by our new lives in Christ! Without this understanding, any talk we have today about stewardship will be a weight on your shoulders—a duty to perform, a rule to follow, a religious practice to keep up with. Without Christ, we will not manage our lives for God’s glory, but for our own. Stewardship is all about your response to the gospel in your life. That is why I have to start with the gospel today, or else stewardship is impossible.
The spiritual discipline of stewardship is our privileged opportunity to be faithful managers of God’s provisions for God’s glory!
God has called His redeemed people to respond to the gospel and His ongoing provisions with faithful stewardship.
What we have is all from Him and not ourselves.
1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV) “… Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
God has called us to steward His stuff in this time on earth for His purposes. What is His stuff? My life is His! My family is His. My money is His. My time is His. My skills are His.
Romans 1:6 says basically that the heart of Christianity is to belong to Jesus! We belong to Him for His glory!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 … You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
What are we called to do with all this?
Hebrews 13:12-16 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
So, let me ask you today, how are you doing? Is your life your privileged reality of being a faithful manager of God’s provisions for God’s glory? One of the best ways to check yourself in this is to start at the beginning:
Is it your privilege to joyfully, regularly, and generously manage your schedule, your skills, and your stuff for God’s glory?
1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV) Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
As redeemed children of God, our joy and our hope is not in our stuff, but in God! “… but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” If our hope is in God and our joy is in Christ and our clear understanding is that everything we have is His and is to be used for His glory and His purposes, then we will be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us in this short time for His eternal purposes.
Stewardship is about management. We are not just talking about people who try to give what they can when they can. We are talking about people who purposefully, intentionally, faithfully, generously manage the provisions God gives them. God has called His redeemed people to respond to the gospel and His ongoing provisions with faithful stewardship.
So, I need to ask you today:
Are you even in a position to manage God’s resources for His glory? You will not and you cannot do this without Christ as your Savior! Without Christ, stewardship for God’s glory is impossible. You will inevitably make it about you and not Him. It must start by Jesus’ power transforming your heart and motives.
If you are saved, how are you doing?
Is your life your privileged reality of being a faithful manager of God’s provisions for God’s glory?
Let’s break this down. First, it is:
1. Our privilege!
The heart of God’s steward starts with a heart of gratitude or unworthiness! For those who say, “But I have worked hard to earn what I own and to master the skills I have,” I commend you to the Scriptures:
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (NIV) You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Realize, God has not just entrusted you with everything you own, but everything you are—your skills, and the number of days you will live. They are a gift from God. We are privileged to be entrusted with His provisions!
What I have found is many Christians don’t see it as their privilege to be good stewards because they don’t see their schedules, their skills, and their stuff as God’s, but instead believe it is theirs!
1 Chronicles 29:13-17 (NLT) "O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace. "O Lord our God, even these materials that we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name come from you! It all belongs to you! I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.”
My heart for us is to be like the people David is speaking of in this passage. They understood everything they had was from God.
They understood it was not theirs; it was God’s. Because they understood these things, they stewarded these resources for His glory and not their own.
Let me illustrate with this:
If I were to entrust to you my checkbook to manage for me—to spend my money, pay my bills, manage it for my good, then over time, you might begin to get used to spending my money and eventually begin to think it is yours! If my 5-year-old daughter, Piper, decides to make me a card or buy me a gift, whose money does she spend? Whose stationary and pen did she use? Whose paycheck was cashed to buy that thing? Mine! Her dad’s.
Do you see that all that you are and all that you have is God’s? And when we really begin to get this, we begin to understand the amazing undeniable privilege it is to be His, and it changes how we manage our time, our talent, and our treasures. It helps me begin to realize I am not building my kingdom; I am building His kingdom for His glory!
We were created for His glory. We were bought with a high price for His glory. We have been entrusted with what we have for His glory! We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ; therefore, we can joyously, regularly, and generously live an open-handed life. When we understand that we are transient, that this world is not our home or our goal or our prize, and we don’t clutch the things of this world like this is all there is going to be, then we live at a level of fullness that the world will not understand. But in doing so, we get to escape the traps of the temporary.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God has created us and gifted us for a work He has set before us. So, are we using this life He has entrusted to us and the gifts He has entrusted to us to be stewarded for His glory and others’ good?
Think about the different areas of your life:
- your relationships
- your chores around the house
- your hobbies
- your job
- your marriage and kids
- your volunteering at church or serving in the community
So, how are you doing?
How are you doing at managing the time God entrusts to you?
How are you doing at managing the skills God entrusts to you?
How are you doing at managing the resources God entrusts to you?
While this study is super simple, it is so critical that we do business with it. We should not waste one moment of this privileged life God has entrusted to us to be faithful managers of God’s provisions for God’s glory!
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC