Grab your Bible, and let’s dig into 1 Corinthians 4 today.
I want to start by focusing on one single verse we read in chapter 4 of 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 4:7
… 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?
This little verse packs a punch. It stands to remind us that everything we are and/or have is from the Lord. It is so common to feel a sense of “I have worked hard to earn what I have or to master the skills I have.” To this viewpoint, I remind you of the following verse:
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
We must realize, God has not just entrusted us with everything we own, but everything we are, our skills, and the number of days we will live. It is all a gift from God! We are privileged to be entrusted with HIS provisions!
On our United States currency it says, “In God we trust.” What a great reminder that our nation needs in these days in which we live. That said, when you and I look at the money we have, we must hear God saying, “With this I have entrusted you!”
This is a great honor and privilege. The problem is we feel so deserving and often feel the money we have isn’t enough. This runs so deep that many turn to debt and credit to spend more than God has entrusted us.
Stop and consider this with me: We are privileged to be alive! This is not to mention, we have money in our wallets and food in our fridges and clothes to wear today. To think that I deserve anything good based on anything I have done is to completely miss the reality of our sin and the beauty of the grace of the gospel!
What I have found is many Christians don’t see it as their privilege to be a good steward, because they don’t see their schedules, their skills, and their stuff as God’s; instead, they believe it is theirs! This is the very important topic of stewardship we must rightly understand and practice.
Read with me David’s prayer in 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 first gave 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 passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace. O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes 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 each of us is that we are 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.
The problem is we often don’t understand! We think it is our RIGHT. We think it is our STUFF. We think we deserve it. But as a born again Christian, my life is not my own. It belongs to God!
Romans 1:6 says basically that THE HEART OF CHISTIANITY is to BELONG to Jesus! We belong to Him! We belong for His glory!
On Monday we will read the following:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- My money is God’s money.
- My time is God’s time.
- My days are God’s days.
- My stuff is God’s stuff.
- My life is God’s life.
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.
The Bible says we are created for His glory. We have been bought with a high price for His glory. We have been entrusted with what we have for HIS glory!
So, how are we 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 finances and resources God entrusts to you?
1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Let’s break this down:
1- “They are to do good, to be rich in good works …”
The word “good” here is the Greek word “kalos.” It means beautiful. The question is when people see your deeds, do they see the beauty of Christ? Do they say “amazing”?
We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ in order to do “kalos deeds”--good deeds, beautiful deeds.
2- “… to be generous and ready to share …”
Are you generous in your lifestyle? How do you know you are living generously or sacrificially? Because it costs you something. It changes your lifestyle. You feel it!
3- “… thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
Jesus taught us that the way to true life is narrow. He said it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. Why? Why is it hard? Why is the way to life narrow? Because we don’t need a wide road so we can carry all of our trophies and money and possessions and pictures and diplomas to eternal life; we just need Jesus.
Why is the road to eternal destruction wide? Because all that stuff has to fit as we pack it, worship it, and cling to it--straight to hell!
Why is it hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God? Because he wants to have his own kingdom now, and if it means being generous and living for God’s glory and fame and not his own, then he will pass. See, here is the true test. Many of us wealthy, gifted, healthy people have said “yes” to Jesus' invitation to the feast, but we have our arms so full of this world that we have no time to help anybody else get there with us. Praise God, Jesus Christ is the door, and it is not by my good deeds that I am saved! But hear me today, beloved! When the gospel takes a hold of you, you will set down the treasures of this world and be faithful managers of God’s provisions for God’s glory, and in doing so, you will take hold of the life that is truly life.
I pray we are Christ followers who consider it a great privilege to faithfully manage God’s provisions that He has so graciously entrusted us with for His eternal glory!
Consider these things for yourself:
How do you need to repent?
- For making it about you?
- For boasting in you and not Jesus?
How do you need to take a fresh look at how you make, spend, or manage your money? How do you need to take a fresh look at how you schedule your time and priorities?
May we quickly repent when we see that we have been making it about us. May we steward His provisions well for His eternal glory and others’ eternal good!