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Summary: Stewardship. What does proper stewardship entail and how does sacrifice play into proper stewardship? Why would God call us to sacrifice and how exactly does the Bible tell us to sacrifice?

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Paving the Way through Stewardship

Matthew 6:19-24

Why Sacrifice?

Sacrifice Draws me Closer to God – Matthew 6:21

Sacrifice Frees me From Materialism – Matthew 6:24

How to sacrifice?

Sacrifice the Best, NOT the Worst – Malachi 1:6-8

Sacrifice Willingly, NOT Unwillingly – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 11-12

Sacrifice Cheerfully, NOT Begrudgingly

Sacrifice Sacrificially, NOT without Cost

Video – Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford – SNL skit

Slide

That video seems so common sense, but the reason it makes us laugh is that so many have been caught in a cycle of spending money we do not have, believing that as long as we can make the monthly payments, we can afford it.

The last several years in this economy have taught us otherwise. We need to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us.

What does wise stewardship mean in real life?

According to the Bible, we see a couple of characteristics of what wise stewardship means. First

Wise stewardship means Saving

Slide

Proverbs 21:20 - In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

It is important to not spend all we have, but to save up for future expected expenses, like buying a house or some major expense, or for unexpected expenses, like car trouble or medical expenses.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should not ever borrow money, but we should only borrow against real assets like a home or things that have long term value, like a car or our education. We want to even be cautious there, not borrowing against the entire value of something to allow for fluctuations in the market value, so you are not left holding an asset that is worth less than you owe.

We should not borrow money on something we are going to consume now, like vacations or going out to eat.

These things used to be common sense, but when we experienced a stock market and real estate market that seemed to go perpetually higher, people began forgetting these principles and when the bubble burst and the market tumbled, and jobs were lost, it left a lot of people in very bad financial shape.

We need to understand that saving is Wise stewardship.

Now even while it is wise to save, we also need to understand that

Wise stewardship means Sacrifice

Slide

Sacrifice? How can we save and sacrifice at the same time?

Well, we need to understand that while it is wise stewardship to save, it is not wise stewardship to hoard.

Listen to this parable that Jesus tells.

Luke 12:16-21

Slide

16 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ’What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 "Then he said, ’This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ’

20 "But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Slide

We are to save and be rich toward God.

This can only be accomplished through a relationship with Christ and keeping our eyes upon Him and seeking His Kingdom and Righteousness.

Part of the reason that God wants us to save is so we have something to sacrifice when a need arises, so we can be rich toward God.

Being able to sacrifice and give is also part of the reason we are to work, so that we might have something to give and sacrifice.

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Ephesians tells us that a person “must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28, NIV)

We aren’t supposed to work just to provide for ourselves, but to be able to give to help those in need and help people come to Christ.

In fact Paul encourages us to excel in giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7

Slide

But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

How is it that we can glorify the Lord and excel in this grace of giving, in sacrifice?

I believe that first, if we are truly going to be able to sacrifice, we must understand why we are to sacrifice.

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