Summary: Stewardship is about more than money. A faithful steward not only stewards his/her resources, but his/her connection to the body of Christ. This message touches on offering ourselves to the body of Christ through our presence in worship.
We continue our Generosity: Possible series this morning discovering what it means to be generous with our presence. When we became a Christian, and one who chose to walk the faith journey as United Methodist, not only did we commit to support the body of Christ with our prayers and witness, but also with our presence. Oh! No! Here we go. Preacher’s about to get onto us for not coming to worship enough! No, I’m not. That’s another sermon. I’m going to share with you a deeper meaning of being present with the body of Christ. Certainly, presence in worship is part of that, but it is so much more. Being present is gathering together to encourage one another, share faith, pass on the faith, grow up in the faith…to be present with each other and to be present before God, and that may well happen AT the church, but it also happens at work, at the hospital, at the nursing home, at school and even at our home when we gather with others who share the faith journey with us. Being generous with our presence means to be present every moment of every day with others, living faithfully the essence of our faith so that our life becomes a testimony of God’s goodness, faithfulness and love.
The late Adrian Rogers said:
“the curse of the 20th Century is Sunday-morning religion. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Sunday-morning religion, but the problem is that so many people have only a Sunday-morning religion. Somebody wrote these words: ‘They’re praising God on Sunday, but they’ll be all right on Monday. It’s just a little habit they’ve acquired.’ Well then, we come to church, then, to worship God on Sunday—and, well we ought. But, folks, we ought not simply come to worship; we ought to bring our worship to church. And, when we leave this building, we ought to take our worship with us, because, you see, the Bible teaches that when we’re right with God, every day is a holy day, every act is to be a sacred deed, and everything we do we’re to do to the glory of God.”
I would say that what was true for the 20th century is equally as true for the 21st century.
Please don’t misunderstand me, though. Worship together is imperative to the life of faithful discipleship. We will never worship “out there” until we’ve first worshipped in here. There is something incredibly life-changing that happens when the body of Christ worships together. That’s the essence of what the Apostle Paul is trying to communicate to the church in a city called Colossae. He says in verse 16 to “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Paul is talking about worship, and did you know, this is the closest thing we have in the New Testament to describing what a worship service is supposed to look like? The New Testament does not give any pattern for conducting a specific corporate worship service in churches. It does not tell how long the services are to be, how many psalms, hymns or spiritual songs are to be sung and it does not tell us how long to stand or sit down. The New Testament does not tell us the styles, types of music or what instruments can be used. The traditions of preceding generations tell us, but the New Testament does not. Paul only points out the necessity of and the power in worship.