God owns it all so what are you doing with it?
What words do we use with objects around us? (My house, my car, even my wife) Very possessive words Who does it really belong to? Bank?, Me?, God?Disclaimers:
God doesn't need anything. He did not create this universe because He was lonely or poor. God is creative and He used His creativity to make us and the universe we live in. He wanted to show his love and creativity in making something that could experience those attributes. God doesn't need anything - He is complete.
From the following Scriptures, who owns title to the earth?
Exodus 9:29 Moses replied, "When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord's.
Deuteronomy 10:14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
Job 41:11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
Ps 19:1 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.
Psalms 24:1-2 The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
1Corinthians 10:26 "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Our society has stripped God of all his rights and mankind has given himself all of God's rights. We have usurped God and made ourselves as gods. Just the opposite of what the Bible teaches.
God's creation shows his majesty and power that is why people have no excuse.
Romans 1:20, 21 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
If anyone takes even a little time, they should be able to move beyond just admiring the beauty of our universe to recognizing that it had to come into existence by an intelligent designer and we should be grateful to that one not just worship the creation.
Principle of ownership. Who is your owner?
Jeremiah 18:3 - 8
3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
If I created robots which could make more robots, whose robots would the robots be? If the robots need reprogramming, do I have a right to reprogram them?
Can we ever say God is not fair? Why not?
We really don't understand everything that God wants for us. We can only know God's will for our life as we journey on the path that He has laid out for us. (Ps 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.)
How can we get a bigger picture of what God wants to do? (Is 55:8,9)
How valuable are you to the creator?
Psalms 139:17, 18 How precious to me (amazing) are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you.
That is a picture of the heart of God. He thinks about you all the time. He thinks you are special and important. He wants you to be successful and gives tools to do what will make His people prosper in all aspects of life.
Many of the books that talk about stewardship only do lip service to real stewardship but major on finances. Often there is a small chapter on real stewardship but the rest is on finances and giving. In our lessons, we want to focus on not just money but our Time, our Talents and our Treasure.
Definition of stewardship:
A simple definition of stewardship is "to manage another person's property." Stewardship by its very nature does implies that we do not own but are entrusted with something precious from the owner. Remember, it is not just our money; it is our time, treasure, and talent. So, we give our time, gifts, and abilities of commitment and service to our Lord, and to His Church. We should be making use of our talents, resources, abilities, finances for God's kingdom and bringing love and justice to this world. We need to be doing our best to use what God gives us to fulfill his commands.
Every person should have a personal mission statement to focus our attention on the ministry that God has for each of us.
Examples of stewardship occupations
You are the middle man. Like a delivery guy. He doesn't own the packages he delivers. Just move it from source to destination. It is his responsibility to take care that the packages are not damaged in the process.
We are like the banker. The banker does not own your money. He uses it to make you more money and also makes a living for himself.
Can you think of other examples of stewards?
Stewardship requires management of what is given us. The first great commandment of stewardship is first found in Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.Here God uses two words in hebrew - awbad and shamar
In this verse we have the concept of managing, protecting, taking care of, being a steward.
God made man to take care of the garden and enjoy His creation. The guys who work the green houses know all about this. What does it take to be a good steward of the greenhouse.How many of you have a garden?
We don't have that garden that God created today because of disobedience. So what should we take care of today?
How can we best take care of the world that God created?
Let's also look at God's blessing and man's responsibility as found in Genesis 1:28
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. In God's blessing to man He gives people the responsibility.
Be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, and have dominion or rule over everything on this world.
What do you think those verbs mean and the implication for our day and age as stewards?
Fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, have dominion.
One of the keys to being a great steward or stewardess (although that term has been used primarily for female airplane attendants) is relationship. If our goal is a great relationship with Jesus we will not be as concerned about "doing things" as we will be about developing a relationship that will transform our activities so that God receives all the glory.
God is looking for good stewards which will take the gifts He gives and use them for His kingdom. Man can create wealth through unspiritual ways. (Quami Kilpatrick - former Detroit Mayor)
There are many spiritual gifts - each with their own blessings. God wants us to work together to use these gifts in harmony for others not ourselves. A steward helps others and in making others successful, he honours God. The world around us is looking to get what the can for themselves. Their lives are self-centered. However, when others are successful we can prosper. We are good stewards when we are successful in multiplying. We can add to our own treasure but we multiply God's treasure when we are working together with others. I am here to help you reach God's potential for your life. - My mission Statement
Wealth is not SIN. Abraham and Job were very very wealthy. God used these wealthy men in fantastic ways. The fact that they were wealthy was a result of their relationship to God and His blessing on their lives. They were not perfect individuals but God used them in His kingdom here on earth. He can use what you have as well.
Abraham had 318 trained men - servants who were trained to tend, guard and defend Abraham's household and animals. If someone had 318 employees just to do this task, how large do you think his whole household was? (Gen 14:14) In this story Abraham uses these trained men to save his nephew Lot. They went after those who had raided the town of Sodom and rescued them. Let's pick up the story at that point.
Genesis 14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.' 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, "I made Abram rich." 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me – to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.'Who do you think Abraham wanted to get the credit for making him rich?
Job was very wealthy but what was his attitude toward his possessions after they had all been taken and his kids had been killed in a storm.
Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Let's compare Job's wealth with a census that was taken in Nehemiah's day of Jerusalem and surroundings we read about the animals that they had. Nehemiah 7:66 - 68 The whole company numbered 42,360, besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 245 male and female singers. There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.
Prosperity Gospel - teaches that God is your servant and if you follow our formula you can become rich. Usually that formula is, "If you give their ministry God will multiply your blessings." It is the Lord who brings us through life experiences and we need to honour Him with what He has entrusted to us.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
The key to having wealth is not how much we have but what we do with it. I have no problem if someone has wealth if they are using it for God's kingdom work. We will talk later about using your possessions for kingdom work when we talk about generosity.
We got to know Stanley Tam who God blessed greatly. At a low point in his life, he gave everything to God. He worked out with a lawyer to make God a partner in his business. God blessed him and today as you drive down I-75 in Lima Ohio, you see a factory with the words "Jesus is the Answer" on the side of the factory. Stanley Tam has gone on to be with the Lord but he gave millions to missions while he lived in a very modest house.
God doesn't love someone else more if they have more talent or treasures. God has enough for everyone. We might think we got the short stick when money was given out. Check your attitude. Money isn't everything. If your spiritual gift is giving, He will make sure that you are a conduit without holes before He will start to flow the valuable treasures through you to others.
What is the balance between too much and too little (Proverbs 30:8-9) "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God."
Get a vision for what God wants to do through you.
Look at Caleb and Joshua. When the other 10 spies, came back they feared the enemy but Cableb and Joshua trusted that God would give the resources if they embraced the vision. Numbers14:6-8
David vs the Israelite soldiers who had a poor sense of what God could do. I Samuel 17:45 -47 I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands.'
How did David view his material possessions in 1 Chronicles 29:14? ‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
Where is your heart - your focus in life?
If you said my relationship to God - did you just say that because you are in church this morning or does everything in your life point to that. It is easy to believe but difficult to put into practice.How can you identify where your heart is?
Paul said in Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Let us use and manage His goods wisely, to prepare us for the trials and the blessing that is still to come. The Psalmist reminds us of the temporality of our goods.
Psalm 49:16-17 Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendour of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendour will not descend with them.
Stewardship is a measure of spirituality
It is at the heart of our relationship with God.
John the Baptist
John in Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: What were those fruits of repentance that John is talking about? What were the questions he had of people?
Luk 3:10-14 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Luk 3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Luk 3:12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Luk 3:13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Luk 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?
And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
These answers all have to do with possessions, money and wages.
Teachings of Jesus.
v 21"His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22 "The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,' he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.'
23 "His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Some say a talent is 15 years of income, another source said 20 years of wages. If we take the average Canadian salary in 2012 of $47,200 and 15 years of income for a base, one talent would be $708,000, two talents would be 1.416,000 and 5 talents ends up to be $3,540,000. How would you like that kind of money. What would you do with it? We might think this parable is rather improbable to think about and not very relevant for us.
The truth is that if you start work at 25 and finish at 65, you have put 40 years into the workforce. So let's take $34,00 as an average income in Canada. That is somewhere between poverty and the average in Canada. If we work for 40 years at $34,000 we will make $1,360,000 in our working life. Every working person will have over a million dollars to spend over their working lifetime. This amount is probably too low for some of you but you can do the math as you will work for more than 40 years and make more than $1,360,000 in your lifetime. Most of us then are at least in the two talent servant category.
According to http://www.workopolis.com/content/advice/article/canadian-paycheques-on-the-rise-heres-what-were-earning-at-the-start-of-2013/ the average salary for Canadians in 2012 was $47,200. (Stats Canada) According to http://www.cwp-csp.ca/2013/07/updated-poverty-numbers-released/ the poverty line in Canada is $30,945 in 2012, for a family of four in a mid-sized town. A two income family after tax median income is $68,000 in Canada, 2011. In Ontario after tax single income median is only $25, 900 in 2011.
So, the duty of the Christian is to learn how to become responsible stewards of our Lord's resources entrusted into our care. It means to manage everything to the best of our abilities for His glory (1 Cor. 4:2). Web http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=43892&columnid=4545
Characteristics of a Good Steward
How do you describe a good steward?
Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth - I Corinthians 4:1,2 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Stewards of Children
I am ever amazed at the gift of life: from the joy of conception to the emergence of a precious child nine months later. Having just received a new beautiful grand daughter who has had some medical issues at birth, I came to realize the precarious balance between life and death and appreciate the true gift that it is. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second is an opportunity to explore that gift of life and use it for the glory of the master giver. I can only worship the creator of such a wonderful process of bringing life into this world and contemplate in amazement its completion when the umbilical cord is cut and the child begins it's life as an independent entity but totally dependent on its parents to sustain it for a number of years. The point is that we are stewards of our children not owners nor can think we are entitled to a perfect child.
Parents and other adults nurture, train, and invest in children. The challenge as stewards is how we can be best make that investment. Just like everything else in our lives, we are stewards, care givers of our children. They belong to God even though we are left with the "labour", God has given them to us to check us out as stewards. That is why an elder is to be the manager of his home and if a man has control over his family he is a good steward - a manager - and thus can lead the church. 1 Timothy 3:4 He (elder) must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.1 Timothy 3:12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
Stewardship is an act of worship and gratitude by the believer, in response to God's grace. In worship, we acknowledge God's power and authority over our lives. Then, we respond to others around us with these godly powers, gifts and possessions.
What kind of steward are we?
12 He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,' he said, ‘until I come back.' 14 "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don't want this man to be our king.' 15 "He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 "The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' 17 "‘Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' 18 "The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.' 19 "His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.'
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
This life is temporal. The things we have on this earth will be gone in a couple hundred years if the Lord does not return before then. Gen 3:19 says, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Renew your thinking. Get out of the worldly temporal trap.
God provides so that we can harvest the fruit of righteousness and store up gold, silver and precious gems in heaven not to build our own castle on earth. The walls of the new Jerusalem will be built with layers of gems.
What will your legacy look like? This question motivated me to change the course of my life. I wanted to build a legacy that would primarily honour God. C.T. Studd said, "Only one life - ‘twill soon be pasted, only what's done for Christ will last." What do you want to be remembered for? What will your obituary read like? What will people be thinking when you leave this world and enter eternity with God? Most important what will God be saying?
In the movie Shindler's List - Shindler wonders whether he has done all he could have. Will we have regrets that we could have used our material possessions to save more people? We can focus on God's kingdom and "all these other things will be added unto us." God knows what we need and He will give us if we are totally dependant on Him. Mt 6:19 - 21 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
What has He entrusted to you?
On a scale of 1 - 10 what kind of a steward do you think you are?
What areas of improvement is there?
Make a commitment to be a good steward of anything God entrusts you with.
Time -Think of one thing that you could do to make better use of your time for God's kingdom
Talents - Determine what your spiritual gift is and use it for God's kingdom
Treasure - Determine to be a good steward of all the riches you have.