What is Stewardship?

The biblical doctrine of stewardship defines our relationship to God, with God as owner of everyone and everything and man as managers of God's things. The apostle Paul explains, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Starting with this concept, we are able to accurately view and correctly value not only our possessions, but, our very lives. As stewards, our purpose in this world is assigned to us by God Himself. And it is our divinely given opportunity to join with God in His worldwide and eternal redemptive movement (Matthew 28:19-20). Stewardship is not God taking from us. It is His method of bestowing His richest gifts upon His people.

Stewardship defines our practical obedience in the administration of everything under our control, everything entrusted to us. It is the consecration of one’s self and possessions to God's service. When we see ourselves as stewards, we acknowledge that we do not have the right of control over ourselves or our property—God has that control. As managers of that which belongs to God, we are under His constant authority as we administer His affairs.

Am I the lord of my life, or is Christ the Lord of my life? Our answer to this question determines both our happiness in life and signals whether we are effectively being used by God.

 

Image: 

Comments

10:31 Prayer: Lord, sometimes we forget about the majesty of who you are. But I’m reminded when I see the beautiful scenery around Lake Guntersvile, I’m reminded of how great you are. I pray we’d stop and try to comprehend the greatness of your majesty. That we’d break out of any kind of religiousness…basic theology…cerebral thinking of who you are. But that with soul and spirit we’d worship you and recognized you great majesty.

As we look at the promises and truths of your Word, may our hearts be convicted. Come and meet us by your grace. Speak to us. We need you. I pray we’d never settle but always hunger and strive to be more like you. As we open your Word, Holy Spirit, lead this time. May your heart be spoken.
I surrender my heart to you that you’d be edified and seen.
Amen.
 
I’m glad you’re here today. We’ll be looking at stewardship.
It’s funny. When we hear that it’s about stewardship, we want to lock up our wallet and purse. If you know me, I don’t talk about money. And because I don’t talk about it, I inadvertently make it it’s own deity by making it off-limits.
But stewardship is more than money.
Three areas regarding stewardship:
1. Basic principle of stewardship,
2. The principle of accountability in stewardship
3. The principle of giving in stewardship.
 
When you look at Acts 1-2 in the NT, you see the church forming. And there are 5 foundational practices established there. They gathered in prayer. They evangelized as empowered by the Word of God. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles (discipleship). They broke bread together (fellowship). And they began to care for one another as they had need. These are the 5 foundations every NT church needs to be successful in ministry.
Even more basic than these 5 principles is the foundation of stewardship. In Stewardship we begin to understand our identity in X.
 
Acts 17:22-28 -  22* ¶ So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.
 23* For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
 24* The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
 
God’s established everything on the earth and placed boundaries on the places and times that we shall live. Everything in life and all we have has been determined by him.
 
 27* that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
 28* for ‘‘‘In him we live and move and have our being’;as even some of your own poets have said, ‘‘‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
 
We see that the primary foundation is that God has established everything. He has made YOU for such a time as this. He’s given you gifts, talents, abilities and established the places where he intends for you to bloom.
This should free us up no longer to compare ourselves with others. No worries about house, car, job, etc. it doesn’t matter if you’re a baker, doctor, physicist. God has established you for his purpose. He says, “I want you to bring me glory.”
If you’re a gas station attendant, you know what? God has placed you there.
There are some people who are smarter than I can fathom, but they have the common sense of a rock. The reality is that certain people…
There are times that John and Zine and I will sit and have coffee and these tw will start talking about something and I’m like “…yeah…sure…” and it’s over my head.
But there are certain people Zine and John can relate to that I cannot. And vice versa- there are those I can relate to that they cannot.
Understand that if you’re a chiropractor, a contractor, working for waste management. God has given you gifts and abilities to establish you to give him glory and make him known.
 
Genesis 1: 26* ¶ Then God said, ‘‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’’
 27* So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’’
 29 ¶ And God said, ‘‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
 
Listen to v29 carefully. God has given us all of these things.
 
 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’’And it was so.
 31 ¶ And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
 
Here’s a little trivia question for you: who made everything? Whom does it belong to?
Answer: God.
 
(repeat 3x)
 
We won’t have appreciation of what God has placed us for until we recognize that He is the one who is in charge of it. He gives gifts so that we can serve the church. He gives ministries so we can do the works he’s established for us. Even the spiritual gifts and talents he’s given us is for him and the people of God.
 
Psalm 24:1  24:1* ¶ <<A psalm of David.>> The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
 2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.
 
Ephesians 2:10  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
 
He’s created you for the works he wants you to walk in.  Works he has prepared in advance for you to do.
God wants us to bloom where we are with what he’s given us.
 
PRINCIPLE OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN STEWARDSHIP.
A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. 
Everything is God’s. He’s given each of us certain talents, connections, locations, neighborhoods…
I remember when my wife and I went to the missionary learning center in VA, we were going to different places. E.g., Uganda, Kazakstan, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Japan.
We were each given stipends for where we were going to live. The stipend for Uganda vs the stipend for Japan was like 1:10. We were living in a basic concrete slab building with a weak security fence.
Our friends in Japan had microwaves and all the finery.
The missionaries all had furnishings that matched where they were ministering. 
God purposes all of us and establishes all of us to reach every facet of people that’s upon this earth.
 
There’s a level of accountability in knowing that God’s placed us in these positions. 
 
Matthew 25:14-30  14* ¶ ‘‘For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.
 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’
 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’
 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,
 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
 
I’m sure this broke the master’s heart…
 
 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed?
 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
 
We know this is a parable of how God our father has given us gifts and ablitieiis. He’s saying everything that you are and that you think you own…the place that you are established through your college education or service or business… the place you live, the community that surrounds you… I am the one who gave you the ability to learn, to retain. I gave you the gifts in order to affect those around you.
Therefore, what you have and are and how you’re serving, it’s all for Me. It’s all for Him.
 
1Co 12:4-6  4* Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
 
It’s God who empowers the works in you. He gives you the ability to do what you do.
 
We are all stewards of the resources, abilities, opportunities of what God’s entrusted to our care. One day, each will give an account for how we manage what the master has given us.
 
PRINCIPLE OF STEWARDSHIP AND GIVING
 
The reason God has called us to give…
 
IN the OT, He said we’re to bring the first fruit, the 10%, it’s recognition that it’s all from him. This isn’t mine. I’m just managing what’s yours.
 
We have to ask ourselves, “Who is God?” Listener, are you God? Or is He God?
 
We have to recognize that God is our sole provider.
 
Watch this video on firstfruits. (3:35 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKywETrwjqA) It takes FAITH to give firstfruits. We give BEFORE we see the blessing of God. It says to God, “I recognize you first and I trust you to take care of the rest.”
 
I hope you catch the truth of this video. You’re saying, “God, I’m giving you the firstfruits, and I’m trusting you for the rest. I know you’re the sole provider.”
God’s a covenant God. What I mean by this is that as we’ve entered into covenant with him, he’s not asking of us anything he hasn’t already done himself. He gave his one-only Son so we might have life.
It’s not so we can drive fancy cars or have nice buildings. It’s a heart matter. It’s a personal thing. We’re saying, “God, I trust you. THIS isn’t my God. I recognize the covenant I’ve made with you. As I trust your Son for eternal life, I trust you as I give that you will care for me. Even if my circumstances seem to say the opposite.”
Some of us are so bound up with our finances. We get upset when we think someone is trying to separate us from our wants.
If that’s you, I pray that this would be broken. That’s a lie from the pit of hell that binds ourselves up.
When we give an offering, it’s about you feeling good about yourself.
 
You know we have a phone app now. And now it’s real easy for me to give to the church. I don’t mean Southside, I mean God’s church. I give it first. I say, “God, I recognize that all I have is yours.”
 
Third reason to give: so we can love the world the way our heavenly father does.
 
Col 3:23-24  23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
 
As we work and gain, we do so as unto the Lord. He’s given us a great commission. Every single one of us. “Listen, I’ve given you my son. I’ve filled you with my spirit. I’ve given you my word. My heart’s desire is to save others.
Go, with all you have and all you are. For you live in him. Go and make disciples of all nations.
My heart is for people to know that I am the true God. And we give so that we can fulfill the great cmdt.
 
HEre’s another video to show why we give. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHqSVerA_hw)
 
11:13 - Church, please stand.
 
If we had to boil down what we’re about as Southside baptist church, it is this: reconciliation. reconciling man to God, man to man, and man to himself. This is what we’re about.
Because this is what we’re about, then when we see opportunities in the community, country, world, that God brings before us, that gives us the opportunity to help man be reconciled to God, to others, to himself. To help them understand that there’s a God who loves them. As we see opportunity, that supersedes everything.
People are our priority. I believe that in heaven, God said to His son, “These people are our priority, so we must give. And in order for them to be reconciled, I have to give them you.” And the Son said, “A body you’re prepared for me. I’ll give myself so man can be reconciled unto us.”
We’ve been created in His image. We’ve now been given the great commission and the great gift to give. Of our time, influence, finances, in any form or fashion. Whether you’re in high school, or wherever you are, God’s position us to give so that the world may know. In order to reconcile.
 
Church, as we pray, if there’s someone here who doesn’t know the love of the Father, or the purpose the Father has called you to walk in, or the peace and joy God gives even in the midst of hardship.
As the Spirit of God convicts your hearts and you feel that tugging of your heart breaking and stirring, that’s God saying “Listen, heed my call. Then you’ll experience true life”
Whether young or old, if you don’t know the love of the father, the security and hope and purpose he has for you in his son, then as we pray, I invite you to come forward so I can introduce you to him.
IF there’s something that’s binding you up and you’re saying “God, I want to be set free from it.” Remember Jesus’ story of the neighbor who came in the middle of the night and KEPT knocking.
Jesus wants you to show whether you’re serious. Keep knocking until the door opens. If God is stirring your heart, whatever it is, come.
 
11:20 Prayer partners, please come forward.
 
Prayer: God, I know I need you. I’m desperate for you. I know you love us with love that exceeds our understanding. IF somene here is struggling, I pray they’d surrender and receive from you. Liberate us. Have your way. Let your kingdom be established in our life today. In Jesus’ name.
 
11:26 - Judah: I pray that we receive and are challenged by what you’ve taught us today. Amen.