This is Life: Exercising Stewardship

I.  What is a steward?

Definition: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns

A. What am I to be a steward of?

James 1:16-17 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 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.

  • All of our lives are a gift from God. Not just your time, talent, and treasure. Everything in your life.

B. Every part of our life is a gift. And every part should be well managed for Him.

Luke 16:10 - 13 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.  11And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?  12And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? 13“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

  • This scripture calls us to be responsible for the smallest of things that God has given us.

Deuteronomy 8:17 – 18 7He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’  18Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 

  • God is the one who gives us the air we breathe. Every gift comes from him.

 II. How to be a good steward?

 We have to embrace 3 truths about life.

1. God owns it all

  • Exercising stewardship is learning to say, "God it's yours."

Psalms 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.

 

2. God gives me freedom on how I use what he has given me.

  • All of it is his, he entrust us with some and the freedom to use it.
  • If we squander it, we have to pay the consequences.  It could lead to a life of debt or even poverty.
  • If we use it wisely, we open up the door for him to gives us more.  He will even begin to entrust us with things that are more important than money.  Blessings. 
  • Blessings are things from God that are imparted to us to share with those around us.

How God would manage our assets. This is foundational.

Matthew 6:19 - 21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  21Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 First priority is to store up treasure in heaven.  How do we do that? Through giving.

The principal of first fruits.

Exodus 23:19 (NASB) 19“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. 

  • The first fruits are the prize possessions. The first of the harvest.  The harvest came only at certain times, so the first things were long awaited for. 

How much do we give?

2 Corinthians 9:6 - 8 (NLT) 6Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.  7You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 

  • How much you give is between you and God.

The second way we store up treasure in heaven is through good works and service.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  • Not only has he given you the ability to make money and thus give, he has also given you time and talents to serve.
  • If you want to store heavenly treasure, you have to be a good steward of your talents and time.

 

3. God blesses our efforts when I’m a good steward.

Luke 6:37 -38    “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.  38Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.£

He not only blesses you, but he blesses others.

  • Scripture says if you’re faithful in the small things, I will make you ruler over many.
  • When you take the focus off you and put it on others, God can use you to satisfy the needs of 2 people. You and them.

The opposite occurs if we are bad stewards

Luke 16:11 - 12 (NLT).  11And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven

  • You will miss out on the things that are most important, most meaningful.

 

>>> 3 major truths that we have to embrace. 1. God owns it all. 2. He gives me the freedom to choose how I use it. 3.God blesses me when I am a good steward. It is pretty simple. Are you a good steward of the life he has given you?

 

IV. Action steps.

A. It is easy to forget that good stewardship applies to all areas of our lives—our talents and our money, yes, but also our bodies, our brains, our emotions, our relationships, and everything else.

  • How can we know we are being good stewards?
Socrates famously said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
  • We all need to examine our lives and aim to place all of it under these principals of stewardship.

1] Financial:

  • Give, decide what you are going to give when and how and give.

2] Time:

  • Life groups, coming up in January we are launching
  • Family, friends
  • Serve

3] Gifts:

  • Help us with what you can do. Nursery, children’s church
  • Security, media, and coffee room

4] Physically:

  • Sign up for a race, walk, challenge, adventure race, etc…
  • Putting together a 40 day Daniel Diet group
  • Buy a bike
  • Get your sleep
  • Drink more water

5] Intellectually:

  • Read a book once a month
  • Take a class at a local college
  • Attend a conference that includes speakers from a perspective you don’t agree with

Plato’s protégé, Aristotle said that the sign of an educated mind is the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it. Figure out why a rational human being could come to such a different viewpoint than your own by hearing him or her out.

6] Spiritually:

  • Go on a fast. Could be food, could be something else.
  • Start our Bible reading plan
  • Memorize one bible verse each week

7] Relationally:

  • Invest in a core group of close friends. Life group
  • Throw a party and invite your neighbors
  • Join a volunteer team at church
  • Give somebody an unexpected compliment every day

8] Emotionally:

  • Learn an instrument
  • Dress up once a week for no reason other than to feel good about yourself
  • Join a painting class
  • Sing in the shower
  • Visit a counselor/minister

 

As you seek to be a good steward, spend time thinking through the fact that it is all God’s. How are you going to use what you’ve been given in each of these areas?