Summary: This sermon is the first in a series of sermons addressing stewardship as a way of life.
A Steward¡¦s View of Life
This morning I want to begin a series of messages for stewardship month focusing on a Christian view of stewardship. What is stewardship and what does it have to do with us? First let me dispel some myths about stewardship:
Stewardship is not just another word for giving ¡V stewardship is a defined lifestyle. It includes everything in life from the most exciting to the most mundane. Giving is only a small part of it.
Stewardship is not a source of income for the church ¡V it is a way of life for those committed to Jesus Christ.
Stewardship is not so much about obligation as it is about obedience.
Stewardship doesn¡¦t start in your life until it starts in your heart.
So what does the Bible say about stewardship? A lot. . The fact is that Jesus talked about stewardship of our resources far more than any other subject recorded in the Gospels. Jesus talked about stewardship in 1 out of every 10 verses recorded in the Gospels. So let¡¦s look together at what Jesus said in one of those cases and see what we can learn about being stewards.
Read Matthew 25:14-30
There are two words that I want you to look at with me this morning as we look at A steward¡¦s view of life. By way of footnote let me tell you that much of what I want to share with you this morning is inspired by a book written by John Ortberg. (If You Want To Walk on Water You¡¦ve Got to Get Out of the Boat ¡V Zondervan)
1) Entrusted ¡V Notice that in the parable that Jesus tells here ¡V the Master is the owner. It says he called his servants to Him and entrusted his possessions to them. These men became stewards not owners of the possessions. This master was obviously rich beyond anything any of us know. Most scholars accept that a talent was a measure of money equivalent to about 15 years wages for the common man. Remember that we are talking about a society that lived pretty much hand to mouth. The sums that Jesus is talking about are extraordinary. The master was not giving this to them to keep or spend on themselves he was entrusting it to their care. These men had the chance of a lifetime ¡V this is an opportunity for them to exercise initiative, use judgment, test their marketing skills, and potentially rise up to higher positions in life. This was their moment ¡V their chance to shine. The master had entrusted them with great responsibility.
Stewards view life as being entrusted by God ¡V God has given you talents to manage in the same way that he did the servants in the parable. This is a matter of ownership ¡V there is no amount of your life that is His and the rest yours. He owns it all and we are mearly stewards. Let me give you an idea of some of the things he has entrusted to your stewardship.
ƒß The Earth ¡V Then God said, ¡§Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.¡¨ Remember God is the owner and creator ¡V yet he has given us dominion ¡V stewardship over the earth. We are responsible for managing resources the way God (the owner) would. We are not given dominion to trash, destroy, and exploit. We are given dominion to manage, protect, and cultivate. The earth and its resources are not given to us to abuse but to manage. Is conservation, recycling, and proper development of the land a new concept? No it is the very directive of God when we were charged with stewardship over the earth and it¡¦s creatures.
ƒß Life ¡V Time, Talent, Treasure ¡V all these you have been given in measure that most of the world could only imagine in their wildest dreams. God has given you the opportunity of a lifetime to invest ¡V not in your own pleasure ¡V but in His kingdom. Remember that stewards are charged to manage their resources in a way that is consistent with the master¡¦s wishes. Your Relationships, children, marriages, friendships ¡V these are all gifts of God that you are charged to be stewards over.
ƒß The Gospel ¡V the good news. We have been entrusted with the stewardship of God¡¦s message. 9¡§Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;¡K We are given the stewardship of this mighty task. The message is His but He has given us the trust of carrying it to the world.