Summary: # 2 From the series - “The Six Pillars of a Powerful Church” Mark 12:41-44 stewardship
“The Six Pillars of a Powerful Church”
A Giving Heart Mark 12:41-44
Today we begin a series called - “The Six Pillars of a Powerful Church.”
The first pillar that holds up a powerful church is that of STEWARDSHIP. Stewardship is managing, using, working with and overseeing all that GOD has given you… and in the greater aspect - ALL that you have is from GOD and you are simply given the opportunity to manage it.
I know what some of you are saying - but there is an answer to every aspect of your question…You may say, “I worked for this money!” Your right you did. But where did you get the strength to do so? You may say, “I got the strength to work by exercising.” To which my response would be - “Where did you get the legs?”
It is like the contest that God and man had. Man, thinking he had achieved a god-like place because scientists could restructure and make anything in a laboratory - challenged God to a creation making contest.
God agreed and the contest began. God reached down and formed a living man from out of a hand full of dirt. The scientist stated he was impressed but that he could do the same. So he began to reach down for a hand full of dirt when God abruptly stopped him… and said, “get your own dirt.”
So you see - you, me, the church - we are just stewards of what GOD has given us. And it is in being good stewards of the ALL that a church will find itself strengthened and powerful.
It is in a familiar text in the twelfth chapter of Mark we find Jesus using a real life situation to teach that very powerful truth. We may not always associate with the church as a whole but there is a strong lesson there for the Christian and the Church. (READ MARK 12:41-44)
Jesus is intently watching as this scene unfolds - the rich, the wealthy, the seemingly powerful are dropping in their donations to the temple…They were pouring money into these things called “trumpets.”
Some for tithe, some for offering.
They were making a spectacle of it… wanting to appear powerful, wanting to draw attention to themselves (kind of like an Enron or a WorldCom).
Then up walks this little dear old widow woman. She walks up quietly and takes a full day’s wage, the equivalent of 1/32nd of a penny today. No pomp, no circumstance - just all that she had. No it wasn’t required -she could have actually kept one of the coins but she didn’t.
Then Jesus calls His disciples over and says, “Look at her…she put in more than all of them.” Understand what HE is saying.
He is saying that the wealthy’s Donation was about:
SELF - PROMOTION -. They wanted everyone to know that they gave… it was stewardship of what they had been given - it was selfishness. And it was also about -
SOCIAL PREJUDICE - they wanted to be seen as sacrificing SOOOOO MUCH -when in reality they were not weren’t returning back to God what was God’s - they were tipping Him. It was even about -
SOULS in PERIL - they were missing the whole reason - because their heart was absent from the whole thing… their hearts were not in the gift.
Yet The Widow’s Offering was about:
Heart of - SELF - DENYING - she could have kept one… but she didn’t. While they gave out of abundance she gave her ALL. And that came from -
A Heart of - SACRIFICE - she gave everything, nothing was held back - it was given and given freely. She sacrificed ALL and trusted God for the care of her life.
It was an act great sacrifice and came from -
A Heart of - SURRENDER. She turned over everything. No fuss, not begrudging the gift… she would surrender all.
Ok - you are sitting there wondering how that applies to making a church powerful… stay with me.
Understand that good STEWARDSHIP begins in the heart. And what separates the wealthy and this widow woman is one word found in verse 44. It is the word - ALL.
The word “ALL” is about a heart of devotion. And giving ALL is a symbol of a heart of devotion. Devotion is something that starts within; it is a heart posture the makes a difference and sees sacrificing ALL as the only natural response to what it loves…
Today the word ALL translates for us as STEWARDSHIP.
Stewardship of your time, talent and yes, your tithe.