Summary: A sermon on stewardship
For the next few weeks we are going to study the subject of stewardship from a biblical perspective. Some of you will get all nervous because you think I’m going to talk about money. I think the church must be very careful to teach a clear message stewardship that is biblically based because this is clearly a biblical principle. Now for those of you who are worried that someone is going to touch your little nest egg I offer the following story:
A man named Stumpy illustrates how money affects people. Stumpy and his wife Martha went to the state fair every year and every year when Stumpy saw the antique bi-plane he would say, “Martha, I’d like to ride in that airplane.” Martha always replied, “I know Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars.
One year Stumpy and Martha went to the fair and Stumpy said, “Martha, I’m 81 years old. If I don’t ride that airplane I might never get another chance.” Martha replied, “Stumpy, that airplane ride cost 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars.
The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you: but if you say one word it’s 10 dollars.”
Stumpy and Martha agreed and up they went. The plot did all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word was heard. He did all his tricks over again, but still not a word.
When they landed, the pilot turned to Stumpy and said, “Well, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.”
Stumpy replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, but 10 dollars is 10 dollars.” (Taken from Great Stories; vol. 6/Issue 24; p. 8)
If you really have a desire to broaden the boundaries of being a true disciple of Christ, I have a recommendation for you: sign up for nursery duty.
More specifically, if you want proof humans are born with self-centered egos that need cleansing, sign up for a tour of duty in the toddler nursery.
Those of us who have experienced the privilege of parenting clearly understand one reason God makes toddlers short in stature is so they won’t take over the whole world for themselves and their own selfish desires.
Though we know all of the toys in the toddler room are property of the local church, just try to convince a strong-willed, two-year-old of this. Don’t ever think toddlers don’t live by a clear and passionate mission statement, because they do. This mission statement is best stated in a simple one-syllable mission word—mine! In other words, What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine, and whatever’s on your mind about possibly being yours is mine! In fact, whatever’s presently unclaimed in the entire nursery is mine!
Strong-willed toddlers seldom, if ever, recognize the church, much less God who owns the church, as the rightful owner of the toys in the toddler nursery.
Come to think of it, our present culture has a mentality and a mission statement much like a strong-willed two-year-old, since it does not recognize Almighty God as the Source, Creator, and Owner of His own world.
The songwriter may have written, God’s got the whole world in His hands, but most people—including many who call themselves Christians—don’t live their lives like they believe it’s true.
Watching a toddler dabble in self-centeredness in the church nursery is one thing, but observing full-grown adults behaving the same way over God’s stuff is altogether different.
Today, let’s take a trip back to the beginning of it all—literally. Let’s look at the first book of the Bible and the first part of the first verse. In Genesis 1:1 we discover a theme that invites us to move away from being spiritual toddlers to become fully devoted children of our Almighty Father God. It’s a call to move from thinking the world revolves around us to knowing God really does have the whole world, the heavens, and you and me in His holy hands.
From the very beginning of God’s Book, we learn that shedding self-centeredness and taking on stewardship makes perfect sense. Actually, the theme of Genesis may be best defined with two eye-opening words: GOD PROVIDES!
I want you to wrap your mind around that concept during this message. God Provides!
With the God Provides theme in our grasp, today’s message demands that we answer the question: Isn’t It Mine?
But who exactly is asking the question? Rest assured it’s not a two-year-old fighting over a can of Play-Doh in the church nursery. Neither is it the question of a full-grown adult.