Summary: I begin this message with a story of the man I believe was used more than any other person in the 19th century for God. He was a layman, not an ordained clergyman. His name was D.L. Moody.
STEWARDSHIP: THE MISSING PIECE TO SUCCESSFUL LIVING
One Plus One = ?
Dr. John Maxwell
If you’ll open your sermon section to where the puzzle is, I conclude today the series of messages on: “Stewardship: The Missing Piece to Successful Living.” We opened this month by talking about the benefits of a steward, a person who is faithful and giving. In fact, we just looked at dozens of Scripture verses that talked about a giving spirit. The second week, we talked about balance in our lives, the “Prosperity Gospel”, the “Poverty Gospel” and how they are both extreme. Both of them have very good valid points but a steward kind of stands in the middle and really takes the strength of both and applies it to their life. And last week we talked about the responsibility that we have as a steward, that what God has given us, we are responsible to return to Him. We don’t give to Him, we return to Him what is already His. Today I want to talk to you about partnership. What happens when you and I link up with God? One plus one may equal two in the world of mathematics but one plus one does not equal two, it doesn’t double, it multiplies. It compounds tremendously when you and I link up in partnership with God. That’s what we are going to talk about this hour.
I begin this message with a story of the man I believe was used more than any other person in the 19th century for God. He was a layman, not an ordained clergyman. His name was D.L. Moody. In your sermon section I quote the words of a man by the name of Mr. Henry Varley in Dublin, England changed D. L. Moody’s life. Look at these words: Mr. Varley said, “The world is yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who was fully consecrated to Him.” D.L. Moody heard those words. Now, let me tell you the story. D.L. Moody is a perfect example of a person whose availability was greater than his ability. No question about it. He’s a picture of what happens when a person links up with God and they become partners. He was born in 1837 in Northridge, Massachusetts in a very poor family. In fact, his dad passed away at the age of 41 leaving D.L. Moody and his brothers and sisters and mother in terrible poverty. So poor that the creditors came and took everything the family had including the firewood. All they had left was the clothes on their back. When their mother took them to church and to Sunday school, they were so poor she didn’t want them to wear out their shoes and socks, she would have them go barefoot and they would carry their shoes and socks until they came within sight of the church. Then they would stop and put on their shoes and socks and they would go to church.
D.L. Moody, out of this incredibly poor home background, became a very successful businessman. He was one of the top shoe salesmen in the east. In fact, he was lead to the Lord in the back of a shoe store, by a fellow by the name of Mr. Kimball. Mr. Kimball was a Sunday school teacher. Can you imagine — D.L. Moody, you’ve got to understand was the most powerfully influential man for God, a layman, in the 19th century. D.L. Moody shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with over a 100 million people. Can you imagine the reward of that Sunday school teacher, Mr. Kimball, who in the back of a shoe store lead D.L. Moody to Christ?
D.L. Moody immediately became interested in the church and wanted to join the church. He was so illiterate; he was just such a kind of a human poor person. He was so bad that he flunked his membership class. Folks, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried out for membership in church, but you can’t flunk that. But he was so bad he flunked it. He came back the second year. The second year he applied and they let him join. But they basically said, although we’ve allowed him to join we still perceive that he’s very illiterate about the things of God. Then he surprised them all by saying that he wanted to sell his business at the age of 30 and just work for God full time as a layman. I mean, they were shocked. They discouraged him. They didn’t want him to do that. In fact, he got up to speak in his local church and when it was over, one of the Deacons walked up to him and said, “I think you can best serve God by remaining silent the rest of your life.” Another walked up to him and said, “Mr. Moody, you offended me with your poor grammar.” D.L. Moody looked back and said, “I realize my grammar is very poor.” He said, “You seem to have good grammar, don’t you?” The man said, “Yes, I have very good grammar.” D.L. Moody looked at him and said, “What are you doing for God?” Message complete.