Over the past few weeks, our sermons have focused upon the activities of the church. We’ve discussed the imperative nature of evangelism and missions - that we have received the commission to share the gospel with the entire world. We’ve also been charged with education and discipleship - teaching people to grow in their walk with the Lord into more mature Christians. These, among others, are important responsibilities of the church and of God’s people.
In order to accomplish these objectives, we are going to need resources. God is not only the source of the salvation we preach and the wisdom we teach, but is also the maker and giver of all things. When we practice Godly stewardship, the church is equipped with the tools it needs to do the work for which it is called! The Baptist Faith and Message says it like this...
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him.
Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a
binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their
time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for
the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of
their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of
the Redeemer's cause on earth.
The Bible clearly identifies God as the source of all blessings, whether spiritual or temporal. Spiritual
blessings include election, adoption, acceptance, redemption, forgiveness, enlightenment, inheritance, and assurance. Temporal blessings include every good thing you have - your time, your talents, your family, your
friends, your possessions, your money... Here is the bottom line - everything we have is given to us by God. As such, we owe Him for it all.
The Bible describes us as debtors, trustees, and stewards. We are all equally indebted to God - none of us owe Him any less than another. However, some of us don't perceive the extent of our debt, and are less thankful than others who "get it". Despite our depravity God entrusts us with numerous blessings, and expects us to use them to produce increase for His kingdom's sake. He gives over to us the management of His household and affairs, relying on as His faithful and wise stewards to administer them righteously.
Stewardship includes more than just money, although money certainly is a vital part. We are to be good stewards of our time, our talents, and our material possessions. Life is fleeting - every moment is precious. We should redeem the time, using every second of our lives to honor God. We have all been created with and/or developed certain talents. These are not given solely for our benefit, but rather the be used for the advancement of God's purposes. Of course, we are to give of our money and other possessions as well.
Have you ever wondered, how do I give to God? After all, I can't just walk up to a counter and hand Him some money. Here is the answer - by giving to the purposes of God, you are giving to the person of God. Therefore, we should strive to give to those organizations that God endorses - i.e., Christian ministries. The foremost of these is the local church, where the bulk of your giving should be directed. But there are other ministries that serve others in Jesus' name as well. Just remember, people don't just need stuff - they need Jesus - so give to those ministries that promote Christ in conjunction with providing for physical needs.
How should I give? The Bible explains that we should give cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally. Instead of spending all of our money in search of cheerfulness, we should try giving. In this, we will find the cheerfulness we seek. We should give routinely and in accordance with a plan. By figuring it into our budget first, we can become more consistent and develop the habit of generous giving. Don't be mistaken - the amount we give is important; not as compared to the giving of others, but rather as it relates to the amount we have. We should never be stingy with God's blessing or withhold a gift that we are able to give.
In order to accomplish the will of God, we must learn to practice righteous stewardship. If we as believers would get a hold of this concept, we could change the world. God has given us everything in overwhelming abundance, and yet the world around us is suffering from great lack. His bounty is not ours to hoard for ourselves - it was never intended for that - and so don't you think its time for us to begin giving His goodness away?