Summary: There are two major themes which weave their way through the bible: The way to God and our Walk with God. This is a series of stewardship messages. The first one is the stewardship of our time.
In Jesus Holy Name January 13, 2008
Epiphany II Text: Genesis 2:15 Redeemer
“Stewardship: Managing the Things God has entrusted to You”
1st in the series: Christian Stewardship
There are two major themes which weave their way through the scriptures: The “way to God” and the “walk with God”. The message today is not about how to have peace or forgiveness with God. It is about your walk. It’s about the management, the “stewardship” of all that God has placed at your disposal and mine.
(read the text)
The Bible tells us that everything God made was good. “God said, Let the land produce seed bearing plants and trees that bear fruit with seed. And God saw that it was good.” God said. “Let the waters teem with living creatures. Let the birds fly above the sky. God created the great creatures of the sea. God saw that it was good.”
“Then God said, Let us make man in our image and let them rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, over the livestock and over all the earth…” (Gen. 1:26) “God took the man and put him in the garden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen. 2:15)
I think there were several key words in these passages. The passage says: “Let us make man in our image. and then the tense changes… Let “them” rule…note the word “them”. God is talk about all of us, all of humanity, was given responsibility “to take care of God’s creation.” We have been given the gift of responsibility to “take care of” (to manage) all that God has given.”
Stewardship is the most misunderstood word in the English language. If you were to ask most people in the church what stewardship means they’d say “money” or “tithing”.
But stewardship is not a financial program. Yet it is the 2nd greatest theme in the bible. On our side of salvation, it is talked about all the way from Genesis through Revelation. Jesus talked more about stewardship then he did about heaven or hell or prayer. Over half of his parables are about stewardship. (from Rick Warren’s sermon on Stewardship)
If you look the word stewardship up in Webster’s Dictionary you’ll find this meaning: “Stewardship is the responsibility of managing some assets or affairs or property of some else’s.” Stewardship is managing something that isn’t your own. The key word in that definition is the word management. The word “steward” means “manager”. Today we are talking about your “management” of the things God has given you.
Genesis 2:15 tells us that the first principle of stewardship is this: “God owns everything.” We sing: “This is My Father’s World”. He owns the orange groves, the soil, and the trees. He owns every plant, every rock, every animal, every person, everything. He created it. He made it. So He owns it.
Just because God owns everything doesn’t mean that it’s being used the way He intended for it to be used. Obviously, a lot of things aren’t being us4ed the way He wanted them to be used.
When God created Adam and Eve he said: “I’m making man a little different. Not only do I want him to be fruitful and multiply, but I want him to do five things. 1) Fill the earth. 2) Subdue it. 3) Rule over it. 4)Work it 5) take care of it. These are our responsibilities. We were created to be managers of His creation.
Principle #1 God owns it all. Principle #2 You and I were made to manage what God owns. (from Crossways by Harry Wendt)
We were made to manage the resources that God put on earth, to rule over things and to take care of it. God’s first command involved “stewardship.”
Humanity’s basic problem today is that we forget what we were created for. We forget our purpose. Humanity goes out and manages what God has given and created and pretty soon men and women start thinking they own it. We try to trade places with God. We start acting like owners instead of managers. (read Deuteronomy 8:10,14,17)
One of the most precious things that God has given to us to manage is “time”.
Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400 dollars. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to used during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent and invest it? Of course.
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance.
It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the most you can in “health”, the pursuit of happiness, and success. The clock is running. Make the most of today.