What is a steward? And why should I care? You are a steward, whether you realise it or not. The question is: What kind of steward will you be?
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
(1) Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD.
(2) Moreover IT IS REQUIRED IN STEWARDS, that A MAN BE FOUND FAITHFUL.
A STEWARD is one who has been entrusted with something.
Paul here speaking of being ENTRUSTED with THE GOSPEL.
STEWARDSHIP is right through the Book.
From the beginning of time God ENTRUSTED THE EARTH to Adam and Eve – to mankind – as caretakers.
God created all things and retains sovereignty over all.
And we all have a responsibility, a stewardship.
Daniel Webster said “The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.”
When Daniel Webster made that statement, he was one of the top statesmen in his country. In fact, he said this at a banquet.
Presidents were there. Heads of State from around the world were there to honour Daniel Webster.
During that banquet, someone asked him, “Mr Webster, what is the most profound thought that ever entered your mind?” and that’s what he replied with.
His responsibility to God.
In fact, when he made that statement, he became so emotionally involved that he had to excuse himself and went out and came back.
And then for 30 minutes he talked to those great men and women of that day about the responsibility he felt of managing the resources that God has given to him.
“The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.”
Now that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
God has entrusted things to us in this life. And we have a responsibility. A stewardship.
The things that we have are not our own.
In Psalms 24:1 we read,
THE EARTH is the LORD’S, and THE FULNESS THEREOF; THE WORLD, and THEY THAT DWELL THEREIN.
EVERYTHING belongs to God.
All of my TIME, all of my MONEY, and all of my ABILITIES – they BELONG TO GOD.
It is easy to sing “I SURRENDER ALL” and yet surrender very little in our life.
But, really, it is ALL His.
“STEWARDSHIP” in the New Testament times speaks of “house management.”
A steward was a TRUSTED and RESPONSIBLE SERVANT with great AUTHORITY in handling the HOUSEHOLD or farm or business affairs of another – for the owner.
We could compare it these days as like the manager of a restaurant who runs the business on behalf of the owner, according to his aims and purposes. But the manager makes the DECISIONS about how.
STEWARDSHIP speaks of the responsibilities that were given, either as a guardian of the children or administrator of the affairs of the household.
STEWARDSHIP is simply THE WISE MANAGEMENT OF GOD’S RESOURCES.
God has given us many GIFTS and RESPONSIBILITIES to use in our LIVES. And He allows us to DECIDE what we do with our life…
Our very life is a FINITE RESOURCE that He grants to us by His grace.
We are Stewards.
Everything we have, not just our POSSESSIONS, but our PERSONALITY, ABILITIES, EXPERIENCES, OPPORTUNITIES, FAMILY, FRIENDS, EVERYTHING is His, GIVEN and ENTRUSTED to us – to you and to me!
Let us thoughtfully consider:
- The IMPACT of our LIVES
- How WISELY do we use our time?
Paul says, Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found FAITHFUL.
God wants us to be TRUSTWORTHY SERVANTS.
He commends FAITHFULNESS.
It means… Live in…
- In HONESTY,
UNFAITHFULNESS is painful, like a toothache… Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
People all too easily give up…
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Faithfulness speaks of loyalty and character and reliability. It is a quality that is sadly lacking. Uncommon.
2 Timothy 2:2
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Are we living our life as a wise and faithful steward?
Consider the stewardship of your TESTIMONY.
You have a mission.
Guard your testimony. Your testimony means the witness of your life. People are following you.
“Steward” your reputation.
It is easy to lose your testimony, sometimes through no deliberate fault of your own.
A person who has a good testimony is in a position to be able to influence the world for Christ, and to advance the work of God.
Our purpose in life is to glorify God.
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Pray for the strength to follow the spirit and not the flesh (Mt. 26:41). Guard against sin.
Watch yourself. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Avoid putting temptation in your way.
Consider the Stewardship of your TEMPLE – your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
(19) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
(20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
God has given us a temple to manage. Do the best with what you have. Be sober. Choose wisely what you partake of, your diet and exercise. Take good care of your health.
Discipline Your Body (1 Cor. 9:27)
Present Your Body to God (Rom. 12:1)
Glorify God in Your Body (1 Cor. 6:20)
There is a stewardship in the home as well. The ministry of parents. Children are a gift from God. The privilege of marriage.
(4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
(5) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
(6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
(7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
We are to guard our HEART
We are to guard our MOUTH
We are to guard our EYES
We are to guard our FEET
EYES. God hates a proud look.
TONGUE. God hates a lying tongue.
HANDS. God hate hands that harm the innocent.
HEART. God hates a heart caught up in wicked imagination.
FEET. God hates feet that are quick to run toward wrongdoing.
MOUTH. God hates a false witness that spreads lies, and He hates someone who spreads discord and dissent among His people.
Glorify God with your life. Give of yourself, your compassion, your love…
After WWII, much of the European world was in ruins and many Americans stayed behind to help them rebuild.
A soldier was driving through the streets of Germany when he saw a little 10 year old orphan boy looking inside the window of a bakery wanting what was inside.
The soldier pulled the jeep over and went and asked the boy if he wanted some of those. The boy said, “Yes.” The soldier went and bought a sack of donuts and cakes and then brought it out the boy.
As the soldier was getting into the jeep the little boy asked the him, “Are you God?”
You and I are more like God when we give to others for His sake.
In Luke 12 the Lord gives an account of a good steward and a poor one.
One was a good manager and the other was a mis-manager.
And our Lord says this in the context of this account it relates to how we should be wise stewards in the light of the coming of the Son of man. How we should be ready.
He praises the faithful and wise manager.
We are all called upon to be wise stewards of God’s resources.
What are these things we should be stewards of?
Consider the Stewardship of your TIME.
It’s a gift from God! … each second, minute, hour, day! … How we use them reflects our stewardship of God’s gift of life!
My times are in thy hand…
Do we stop and think about THE STEWARDSHIP of our TIME?
Treasure every moment that you have!
God is going to give you around 70 or 80 years of time in this world.
The Bible says in Ephesians 5:16 we should
“redeem the time because the days are evil.”
When the Lord asks you how well you managed the time He gave you, how will you reply?
Consider the Stewardship of your TALENTS.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…
God gave you some natural abilities at your physical birth, and He gave you some spiritual gifts, or supernatural abilities at your spiritual birth. Are you using your abilities to serve the Lord, or to serve your own interests?
Some of you think there’s nothing you can do for the Lord. You are so shy you’d be afraid to lead in silent prayer in the nursery! But God has given you some special abilities. One of the things I’m teaching in our new member training each quarter is that each Christian is totally unique within the Body of Christ. You have a special SHAPE nobody else has, that’s why you are needed. Your “SHAPE” comes from a combination of five factors that spell the word “SHAPE.” Your shape is determined by your Spiritual Gifts; your Heart (or your passion); your Abilities (natural); your Personality type; and your Experiences. When you consider those five variables, there is nobody else like you in our church. That’s why God is going to hold you accountable. God may not have called you to preach, but He has put you in charge of something–are you being a faithful, wise, manager?
There are many ways to serve God.
Serving, witnessing, ushering, visiting the sick, supporting the music, etc
You have a gift, or gifts from God.
Some times these are seen as talents. The most fulfilment will be yours as you allow the Spirit of God to empower those gifts.
We all have talents to give back to the Lord.
Consider the Stewardship of your TREASURE.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Money is a gift from God. God owns it. God lets us earn and use it!
Christians are God’s stewards! We are managers.
We’ve never seen a moving van pulled behind a hearse! It all goes back to God!
How do we use money and possessions?
How are our spending decisions?
I love the story of the very wealthy man who died and he went to heaven and he was walking around with St. Peter and St. Peter showed him the mansion of his gardener and oh, he was impressed, it was a huge mansion and he said, “Wow! You mean my gardener is going to live there?”
And St. Peter said, “Yep, that’s the mansion for your gardener.”
He went a little farther and showed him another huge mansion and said, “That’s the mansion of the missionary that you knew when you were a kid that went to a foreign country.”
He said, “Good night! You mean that’s where he’s going to stay. This is incredible.”
By this time, this worldly man could hardly wait to see what his house was going to look like. They turned the corner and there was a little shack about 6 x 8 with a few boards leaned up against each other and St. Peter said, “That’s your place.”
The guy was appalled he said, “What do you mean? My gardener got a mansion, the missionary got a mansion, and I’ve got to live in there. Why is that?”
St. Peter looked at him and said, “Well, to be honest with you, we did the best we could with what you sent us.”
How we handle what we’ve got now is going to determine what we receive in God’s Kingdom.
We all have a treasure.
The amount of treasure we have is not most important. What we do with our treasure is most important.
Consider your stewardship today…
- Of your TESTIMONY
- Of your TEMPLE – your body
- Of your TIME
- Of your TALENTS
- Of your TREASURE.
Are we offering our lives, our substance to bring Glory to Him?
An important note as regards our stewardship is that we must give account.
Will you be found faithful?
You can be FAITHFUL.
- God’s HELP
- God’s POWER.
(28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
(29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
(30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
(31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.