Summary: Stewardship isn’t about money... and it isn’t about ministry. Well, then what is stewardship all about?
The following sermon was used in conjunction with the book "Take God at His Word, Book 2: Expect a Harvest" written by Dr. Kregg Hood, Sweet Publishing (5750 Stratum Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76137)
Dr. Hood has an excellent packet to go with this sermon series that would be well worth your investigation.
OPEN: Eric Hulstrand writes in Leadership magazine: "While I was preaching one Sunday, an elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance.
As they strapped her to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door, Mary regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what could be her final words.
The daughter leaned over until her ear was at her mother’s mouth.
’My offering is in my purse,’ she whispered."
APPLY: That elderly woman was a remarkable person. Her last words showed what was of highest importance to her - to be a steward of gifts God had given her.
“Stewardship” means: using God given abilities to manage God given resources, to accomplish God ordained results.
That’s important. When I think of Stewardship I often only think of my money (giving of my resources). BUT giving money to church is not stewardship, it is merely part of stewardship. Tho’ you can’t be a steward without giving of money.
WELL THEN, if stewardship isn’t about money, maybe it is about doing ministry (giving of my abilities). BUT what you do in ministry for God is not stewardship either. It is a part of good stewardship and you can’t be a steward without giving of your abilities.
Well, if stewardship is not about what I can give, and not what I can do… what is it about?
Stewardship is about having the HEART OF STEWARDSHIP. In other words, good stewardship is a matter of ATTITUDE that stands behind your giving and your service.
It’s not what you give or what you do for God, it’s WHY you do it.
If you give money/ resources to God – wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward.
If you do ministry (serve the church) – wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable about the attitude of stewardship. There are three attitudes on display here… and many church goers exhibit 1 of those 3.
The 1st attitude is this: What’s YOURS is MINE and I’m going to take it (vs. 30 - the thieves on the road).
That’s not an attitude we’d approve of. IN FACT, even the world understands this is wrong.
AND YET, in Malachi 3:8-10 God speaks to Israel…
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Granted, that was under the Old Testament. The Tithe was commanded in the Law. BUT I can’t picture God feeling much different today.
ILLUS: Let’s say that you’ve gone to eat in a fancy restaurant (not a cafeteria, not a fast food establishment). We’re talking a NICE restaurant with pretty tablecloths on tables and a candle in center to set the mood. A waitress attends to your every need. You eat a sumptuous meal and at the end, you are very satisfied. WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO BEFORE LEAVING??? You give a TIP.
What is a “Tip?” 10%.
NOW, if a patron leaves the restaurant, and puts no money (or something less than a tip) at their table -what’s that waitress likely to think?
She might think “Did I do a poor job?”
But, MORE LIKELY she’s going to think: “That guy’s real skinflint. He robbed me!!!"
TELL ME, did you owe her that tip? No! BUT, if she’s the type of waitress she should have been, such a “Gratuity” shows appreciation for her service - for what she’s done for you.
For the Christian, the tithe might not be “required of us,” But if God is important to us, if we really love Him, if He’s really the God wetell our neighbors He is… the Tithe is a powerful way of showing your appreciation of who He is to you.
But the 1st attitude that some church goers exhibit is what’s yours is mine and I’m going to keep it.
The 2nd attitude is What’s MINE is MINE and I’m going to keep it (vs. 31-32)