Summary: The proper foundation for Kingdom Stewardship requires that we view God as the owner of all who has entrusted those things to us as His stewards.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that I’ve skipped over some passages as we’ve made our way through the Sermon on the Mount. As I mentioned at the time, I wanted to come back and deal with all those passages together since they all deal with our stewardship in the kingdom of heaven. So over the next five weeks, we’re going to examine that important aspect of our lives as Christ followers. In addition to Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, we’ll be pulling in a number of other passages that will give us a more complete picture of the Biblical teaching about our stewardship.
Whenever a builder begins to construct a building, the most important part of the process is to lay a strong foundation. Without an appropriate foundation, no matter how well the rest of the building is constructed, it won’t last when it faces outside forces like weather. I still remember when we were living in Albuquerque and Public Service Company of New Mexico was building a new office building right across the street from where I often worked. They literally spent more time working on the foundation than they did with the rest of the construction on this multi-story building.
The same thing is true when it comes to our stewardship in the kingdom of heaven. We must take the time required to build a strong foundation before we move on to the rest of what we’ll learn. So this morning, I’m going to take a number of passages from throughout the Bible and use them to help us develop that foundation. We’ll focus on four foundational principles today:
Foundational principle #1:
• God owns everything
If we miss this principle, then we will never be able to be faithful stewards. While I may possess money, other material possessions, talents, time and other assets, God owns them all.
An earthly example of this principle is a pawn shop. If someone needs money, they can take an item of value to a pawn shop. The owner of the pawn shop will loan that person a certain amount of money for an agreed upon time period at an agreed upon interest rate. The pawn broker takes possession of that item, but it still legally belongs to the owner and must be returned to the owner when the loan is repaid. It is only when the loan is not repaid that the item becomes the property of the pawn shop.
I’ll bet you never really thought of yourself as a spiritual pawn broker did you? But in a sense, that’s exactly how the Bible pictures us. Everything we have in our possession belongs to God. The only difference is that God never defaults so nothing ever becomes our property.
This principle is clearly developed in both the Old and New Testaments. Let’s begin with the words of the Psalmist:
The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
Paul later quotes this verse in his letter to the church in Corinth when dealing with the issue of meat that has been offered to idols.
For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.”
1 Corinthians 10:26 (ESV)
The Psalmist not only records the fact that everything is the world belongs to God, He gives a reason why that is the case. Since God is the creator of all, He is entitled to own it all.
We recognize this same principle in the business world with our patent laws. If a person invents or creates something, he or she is entitled to get a patent which gives them ownership of that creation and entitles that person to determine how that product may be used by others.
The reason that Jesus has the authority to give commands concerning our stewardship of that with He has entrusted to us is because He is the creator of all. Here is how Paul described Jesus’ role as creator in Philippians:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:15-17 (ESV)
As I pointed out earlier, this idea that God owns everything is the key to our stewardship in the kingdom. And we must do more than just acknowledge this fact with our words. We must truly believe this and then live our lives in a manner that is consistent with that belief.
But it’s not easy to do that is it? Those of you who have young children see this every day. What’s your child’s favorite word? My guess is that is probably “mine”. As parents we work hard to teach our children not to be so self-focused, but it’s not easy to do that because it goes against our human nature. And we don’t outgrow those tendencies as adults either. So we must make a conscious decision each day to consider everything we have as belonging to God.