Summary: Part 2 in stewardship series


Giving with a Purpose-Part 2

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pastor Brian Matherlee


The paradox of our time in history is that....

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less.

We buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space, but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window, and nothing in the stockroom.

--source unknown

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15, 16)

Elizabeth Dole, NC Senator and former presidential candidate, said, “Life is not just a few years to spend on self-indulgence and career advancement. It is a privilege, a responsibility, and a stewardship to be lived according to a much higher calling.”

It is imperative that we begin right.

A professor began his class with an illustration. He had a large empty glass jar on a table and began filling it with rocks. He asked the class “Is it full?” Most said yes, but he took from behind the table some smaller rocks and poured them into the jar up to the top. He asked the class “Is it full?” Fewer said yes. He then pulled out a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. It filled every gap all the way to the top and he asked, “Is it full?” Nearly no one responded yes and for good reason. The professor then poured water into the jar until it overflowed. “Now it is full”, he said.

His lesson was on time management and that people should place the most important things in first if they want to get them in at all.

God understood our tendency to go on without Him and so a day was set apart from the foundations of the creation so that we might put the most important things into our lives first.

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:2, 3)

Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

The Sabbath was blessed and sanctified by God. He created it for the benefit of humanity and separated it from the other days in that it was to be extraordinary. The routine of life would be paused to remind us that we are created in the image of God.

The Sabbath was observed by early converts to Christianity for a while along with worshipping together on the first day of the week. The Apostle Paul encouraged early believers to bring their offerings the first day of the week. Not too long into Christianity the Sabbath observance ceased and “The Lord’s Day” was established as the corporate gathering time for Christians.

The sum total of the Bible’s teaching regarding a day of worship is positive. It is more concerned about what we do rather than what we avoid.

A day of worship provides for and protects from certain things.

1. Provides for intentional connection with God & Protects from emptiness of uncultivated relationship.

a. We connect with God by expressing truths we have come to understand. Tell him we love him.

b. The other day we took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese. Two girls were climbing in the jungle gym and reached the top and yelled repeatedly for their mother to look at them. Just one look and they turned and scurried back down. I thought how much God would love for us to be pestered for His attention. That His children would long for just one look of connection.

c. We avoid the unfamiliarity and awkwardness of a lack of communication over time. I communicate much better with the brother I see nearly every week than with the brother I only see 2 times a year.

d. Bonds are formed by frequency of interaction.

2. Provides for physical renewal & Protects from stress & breakdown.

a. S. Trett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A restaurants, nearly 1,000 restaurants that generate $1 billion in sales – still teaches Sunday School every Sunday – still has all corporate-owned store closed on Sunday – low employee turnover rate of 4 percent.

b. Symptoms of stress overload:

1. Decision-making becomes difficult (both major and minor kinds).

2. Excessive daydreaming or fantasizing about "getting away from it all."

3. Increased use of cigarettes and/or alcohol.

4. Increased use of tranquilizers and "uppers."

5. Thoughts trail off while speaking or writing.

6. Excessive worrying about all things.

7. Sudden outbursts of temper and hostility.

8. Paranoid ideas and mistrust of friends and family.

9. Forgetfulness for appointments, deadlines, dates.

10. Frequent spells of brooding and feeling of inadequacy.

11. Reversals in usual behavior.

--Keith W. Wehnert, Stress/Unstress, 1981, Augsburg

c. Families today believe their job is to expose their children to every activity and opportunity under heaven. We do our children no favors when we teach them to go, go, go all the time with the goal of being well-rounded and place the opportunities of Biblical instruction and God-centered living after the pebbles, sand and water have all filled the jar.

d. Our children are overweight, entertainment driven, performing artists who have little to say about what they are involved in and have parents who find too much satisfaction and pride in the success of their children in any and every activity.

3. Provides for accountable faith instruction & Protects from individualism and pride.

a. Too many people come to Church three times primarily. They’re Baptized, they get married, and they have their funeral service at the Church.The first time they throw water on you, the second time rice

the third time dirt!

b. There are some popular authors claiming that organized fellowships (like the local church and denominations) are dinosaurs and that truly meaningful fellowships are most often found in “house” churches.

c. George Barna just reported on a trend (albeit a small one) in some areas toward house churches.

d. My thought is that house churches that are done out of preference and not out of necessity breed personalized religion that tends to stray from orthodox Biblical belief because of the emphasis upon the individual.

e. House churches in other parts of the world are organized because of restrictions upon religious expression or to start a traditional faith community.

f. I have heard people say, “I can meet with God anywhere”. Some claim that being on the golf course, out in nature or with their family gathering is an observance of the Sabbath principle. The disciples and early church would never have understood this thinking. One day of seven was blessed and set apart by God to connect with God…violation of this principle brings decay into the life of those who disregard its design and benefit.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15, 16)


1. To worship with other believers every Sunday this year except when prevented by illness, job requirements, etc.

2. To schedule my daily living around Biblical principles.