Summary: A Biblical understanding of Stewardship: God gives generously (faith, salvation, eternal life, forgiveness, etc) and by God's Holy Spirit, we may also give generously.
Grace, mercy, peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today is Stewardship Sunday. Today is the day that, and let me be straight forward with you, today is the day that we talk about money. About giving, about generosity.
But I’m not going to try and guilt you into giving more. I’m not going to make false promises to you and say rubbish things to you like “if you plant a greenback seed, then the seed will grow and you’ll be rich” and all of this ridiculousness. I’m not even going to make a demand from you today that you give more.
But what I am going to do is share with you some sound, biblical advice with regard to your resources, you money, and how you use those resources in godly ways. And I know and I understand that we Lutherans do not like to talk about money. Well, we’re gonna talk about it, and I hope and pray that by the end of this conversation, you will have a better understanding or a stronger understanding of God’s will for you with regard to what He gives you and calls you to.
And that’s the first thing: God’s gift. For those of you who have been attending the L-101 class and were here this past Wednesday or Saturday, you’ve already heard what I’m about to say: everything we have and everything we are is because God has graciously given it to us. God created all things, everything, right down to the smallest atom, and He created it out of nothing. And why did God create everything? Two reasons, really. First God created because God is one who loves to create good things. Every part of His creation in Genesis, every day that occurs, God blesses and says “it’s good”, in other words it puts a smile on His face, in other words it is completely and totally in step with the will, mind, and heart of God. God loves to do this; God loves to create, He loves to bless, He loves to give.
And He also loves to be in relationship with His creation. And that’s the second reason God creates. He wants to be in relationship; He wants to share Himself. And so He creates. And the peak of His creation, the pinnacle of His creation, is YOU.
God wants to be in relationship with you. And so He continues to give and to bless and to invite. And even when you have fallen, when you have walked away, God continues to seek out that relationship with you, not only because it pleases Him, but also because, as His creation, you cannot be truly what you are created and meant to be without Him.
That’s why He sent His son. He sent Jesus so that He might bring that relationship back, so that you might again receive from God His gifts of grace, mercy, love, salvation, eternal life.
Just sort of a plug for L-101: if you want to hear and grow and learn more about stuff like this, you need to be in the L-101 class! We meet again on the first Wednesday of November and the first Saturday of November. I encourage you to attend and I encourage you to bring your unchurched, or “underchurched” friends.
But, before we can talk about giving, we need to talk about receiving. As God’s creation, as people who cannot in any way separate ourselves from needing God in every aspect of our lives, we must acknowledge to ourselves that we depend on God. God gives and we receive. God gives us life, He gives us health, He gives us time, He gives us family, He gives us work, He gives us food, He gives us rest, He gives us voices, He gives us breath, and He gives us every last penny that we like to say we’ve earned ourselves. We could not earn our money if God did not first graciously give us the ability, the skill, the talents, the gifts, the resources to earn it. Scripture says that all we have belongs to the Lord, and how true it is. It belongs to the Lord, but He has given it to us to enjoy and to use. Even the gift of His only Son is a gift given to us for our enjoyment! We can rejoice, we can be joyful because we know that on account of that gift, on account of Jesus Christ, we have also been given forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
And because of that joy, because of that confidence, what do we do? We share that gift, we share that message others. Not out of compulsion, not out of some legal demand, but because we know and experience this gift of God to be so wonderful and so beneficial that we want, we desire others to know of it as well.