Summary: This is the third in a series of stewardship sermons and deals with our handling of the material goods of life. Includes tithing and stuff managment.
A Stewards View of Stuff
This morning we are going to continue our time in stewardship month looking at a Stewards View of Stuff. Comedian George Carlin (who by the way I do not recommend you listen to) proclaims, ¡§A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.¡¨ Let¡¦s take a look together this morning at an event that happened in the Temple during Jesus last week in Jerusalem.
Several things stand out in this passage to me ¡V
1) How you handle stuff is important to God - Look for a minute with me at where Jesus is. Jesus stood in the court of women in the Temple. Thirteen trumpet shaped offering vessels stood in this courtyard. I don¡¦t for one minute think that He was there by chance. He had gathered His disciples around Him and He was there to teach them a valuable lesson. Imagine them standing there watching as men of great wealth placed large sums in the coffers. Certainly there were priests and others there to make a big to do about these wealthy patrons of the Temple. I can imagine impatient Peter ¡V ¡§Jesus ¡V did you see that? Did you see all the money he gave? We should tell all the people to give so much!¡¨ ¡§Shhhhh¡¨ Jesus must have told him ¡V ¡§watch with me a little longer.¡¨ You see I believe that Jesus was there for one reason and one reason only ¡V to see a poor widow give a little bit of nothing to the Temple and to teach His disciples about God¡¦s view of stuff.
ƒß It¡¦s not your stuff ¡V As the creator ¡V God is the owner of it all. David said it this way in Psalm 24 ¡§The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the rivers. Make no bones about it folks what you do with this verse is the linchpin for your whole life. You see the world around us and it¡¦s evolutionary teaching says we are the boss, we are in control, and that our opinions are the most important. Well God tells us differently ¡V the Bible makes it clear that God is the boss, He is in control, and the only way to be happy is to understand that our opinions don¡¦t matter as much as His truth. Until we settle this issue we are always going to have problems in the area of management and stewardship. If I believe that I am the owner then I am going to be in constant conflict with God over what I do with the stuff I have.
ƒß You have been given God¡¦s stuff for a purpose ¡V God has provided what we have so that we can use it to further His kingdom. Contrary to popular belief ¡V God did not establish the Church so that we can join together and enjoy the moments of life we spend together. This is not the Christian social club ¡V it¡¦s the church and the Church has a mission. To go into all the world and preach the gospel. To ensure that every man woman and child in the world has the opportunity that we have already enjoyed. To know the salvation of Christ. Too often we are like children with toys enjoying our prosperity instead of like stewards managing our Fathers estate. We have been give so much so that we can use it for His purpose.
ƒß Where your stuff is your heart is ¡V The scripture says ¡§where your treasure is there your heart is also¡¨. For most of us that means our hearts are in some pretty dangerous places. God wants your heart ¡V not part of it ¡V all of it ¡V in Him.
2) How you handle stuff is important to others - John¡¦s first epistle says ¡§How does God¡¦s love abide in anyone who has the world¡¦s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. The truth is that God has given us what we have so that we can help those in need. Yes we can live off what God has given us but each of us has the responsibility to help those who are around us also. God speaking through the prophet Malachi said this ¡V ¡§Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house¡K¡¨ What food is God talking about? The bread of life. He sat down with the woman at the well and said to her ¡§if you drink of the water I give you ¡V you will never thirst again.¡¨ Folks I make no apology for the fact that it takes money to do ministry. I get a salary ¡V Pastor Jeremiah gets a salary ¡V I hope that we provide more than we are provided for. We provide a facility, materials, programs, events, evangelism, counseling, care, and many other things ¡V at no charge. We don¡¦t charge admission to come. We provide all this to our community because it¡¦s about feeding those who are needy ¡V those who need the bread of life. I believe we are called to build our family life center to expand our ministries in this community ¡V but before we can think about that we have to be able to meet the basic needs of the ministries we already have. The truth is that if every family who calls this there storehouse would simply be obedient to God in the area of Tithing ¡V we would have more than enough to do all that needs to be done and still build for the future. Whether or not you are obedient in what you do with your stuff ¡V is important to every man woman and child in this community and around the world who need to know Jesus.