Summary: God owns everything. He just asked me to manage it. God owns it, I manage it. He gives me things of which He requires of me, and this is where my responsibility comes in to do the best job of managing that I possibly can.
STEWARDSHIP: THE MISSING PIECE TO SUCCESSFUL LIVING
If God Owns It All, What Am I Doing With It?
Dr. John Maxwell
In your sermon section this morning, we continue our theme on “Stewardship: The Missing Piece to Successful Living.”
Two weeks ago, we talked about “Benefits of a Lifestyle of Stewardship.” We literally went through the Bible and looked at many Scriptures that talked to us about what a true biblical steward does with all of their possessions. I think pretty much that day, we understood and found out that we were to be rivers and not reservoirs of the blessings that God has given us. We are to pass them on to others.
Then last Sunday, we talked about balance. We talked about the fact that there are those who are good Christians who believe in “Poverty Theology.” There are those who are good Christians that believe the “Prosperity Theology.” We looked at both of them; we saw that they both had wonderful strengths and biblical truths behind them. But we also found that they had some considerable weaknesses and limitations. I think we discovered last Sunday that a steward is right in the middle; claims the promises of both but understands the responsibility we have as managers of the resources that God has given to us.
Now today, I want to talk about that responsibility. In fact, if you’ll look down in that little puzzle there. At number 3, where it says responsibility, I have a quote by Daniel Webster. It says, “The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.” When Daniel Webster made that statement, he was one of the top American statesman in our country. In fact, he made that statement at a banquet. Presidents were there. Heads of State from around the world were there to honor Daniel Webster. During that banquet, someone asked him, “Mr. Webster, what is the most profound thought that ever entered your mind?” and that’s what he replied with. His responsibility to God. In fact, when he made that statement, he became so emotionally involved that he had to excuse himself and went out and came back. And then for 30 minutes he talked to those great men and women of that day about the responsibility he felt of managing the resources that God has given to him. Now that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
In a moment, we’re going to go over to Matthew, chapter 25. It’s the story of the talents. It’s the classic story. I have probably preached at least a dozen messages from that passage itself. It’s a classic story of God’s expectation to you and me in the management of the resources that He has given to us. You see, here’s the problem gang. When we understand, then we’re going to be able to do what we need to do in our message this morning. You see the problem is many of us do not yet recognize God as the owner of everything in our life. That’s the whole issue. The moment that you and I can cross the threshold and understand that everything that you have and everything I have right now is God’s, not mine, I don’t own it, all I do is manage it. The moment that I can understand that mentally, begin to embrace it emotionally, and act it out physically, that’s the moment that things will begin to really change. And then I will truly be a steward of everything that God has given to me.
Some of us, I’m afraid, are like the people down at West Palm Beach. This happened just recently. The camera crew went up to the door and asked permission of a family there to put the cameras in the front yard because they wanted to shoot some scenes for a television episode. The person said, “sure.” There was only one problem; the person didn’t own the house. They were just living in the house; they were tenants. And boy, when the owner found out that they were rolling cars all around the yard he became very upset. Well, obviously he became upset because you see, that person made a major mistake. They assumed that because they lived in the house they owned it.
We make a major mistake in life when we assume just because we’re walking through life and God has given us things u cars to drive, houses to live in we assume that somehow we have become the owner of all of those things. Let me ask you a question. If you earned $400 last week, how much of it belongs to God? Now, if this morning you’re saying, “Okay, I made $400 last week, $40 belongs to God,” then somehow as your pastor I’m not doing the job I need to in teaching you stewardship. You see if you made $400 last week, $400 belongs to God. The steward understands that everything we have, we just manage. God owns it all. There are four principles of money management given to us in the story of the talents. Are you ready?