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Summary: A look at Biblical stewardship

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*Intro>There are three impassioned phrases that have entered our common culture from movies starring Tom Cruise.

---In 1993, in “The Firm,” Cruise’s character desperately seeks to be received and forgiven by his wife for some indiscretions on his part, offering his tearful and impassioned apology with the transparent fear that she might never come back to him. He declares his need for her in telling her what he’s learned: ”You complete me.” (And all the ladies say, “Ahhhh.” What a tender moment, huh?)

---His wife’s response is phrase number two, and was recently cited in a national survey as one of the top 3 romantic phrases ever uttered in movies, as she replied, “You had me at hello.”

---But in 1999, in the movie, “Jerry McGuire,” Cruise’s character, a sports agent, is told by his last and biggest client (played by Cuba Gooding) that if he wants to continue as the athlete’s agent he needs to step up to the plate and come through with his promise of a large contract. He tells him that talk isn’t enough. Promises don’t mean anything really. What he told Cruise he needed him to do was to “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”

->It is a phrase that God could also say to us:

----“Do you love Me? Am I the Lord of your life? Then, if so...it should show up in how you take care of the resources I’ve made available to you....SHOW ME THE MONEY!”

-I invite you to open a Bible and turn to Malachi 3.

->The background of Malachi 3 is important to know:

---Israel is being held captive in Babylon because they had neglected their worship and had stopped surrendering their hearts to the Lord.

---So now Malachi speaks from God and tells them, “If you want the pestilence and oppression to be removed, you must return to your first commitment to the Lord, and STOP ROBBING GOD of what’s rightfully His.”

<>It is important also that we realize that 1/6 of the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touches on stewardship.

->Someone has said that the reason Jesus spoke so much on money matters is because money matters.

<>It is, in short, an important principle we need to understand, an important question we need to be able to answer:

<>What HAS God instructed us to do in rightfully handling our resources, our income, our possessions? What ARE the aspects of what our relationship with God should be when it comes to these matters?

<>IT COMES DOWN TO PROPERLY UNDERSTANDING FOUR SIMPLE CONCEPTS...

---The first two of the concepts closely relate to one another, and the last two relate closely to one another.

---So, first of all, we need to understand the concept of...

1) OWNERSHIP.

<>Simply put, God owns it all, we’re not the owners.

---Ps.50:10 -- “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

---1Cor.6:20 -- “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

---ILL>Years ago, as a boy, I remember attending an air show in Kansas City, where the Thunderbirds, the highly-skilled acrobatic aeronautics team of the United States Air Force presented an amazing exhibition. I remember being allowed to come right up to the cockpit of one of the jets (I doubt that would be allowed in these days of tighter security), and I saw the Captain’s personal name plate on the cockpit window, as well as some personal items (pictures of his wife and children, etc.) inside his cockpit.

-->But do you think for even a minute that that pilot owned the jet? Of course not. It was the property of the United States Air Force.

----No, the pilot got to enjoy the jet, got to experience the power and amazing maneuverability of the jet, and he was responsible for keeping it clean and flying it safely, but he didn’t own it.

->In the same way, God is the owner of ALL things.

---After all, He made them, and He’s the giver and sustainer of life.

->Scripture tells us that “All good things come down from the Father of lights (meaning God the Father).”

->If it wasn’t for the fact that God has chosen to let your heart keep on beating after the day of your birth, you wouldn’t be alive, let alone have any “possessions,” a place to lay your head tonight, clothes to put on your body, a car to ride in to come to worship today, or even be able to enjoy the company of your wife and children.

<>God owns it all, because He created it all.

---ILL>You’ve probably already noticed that at the bottom of the power point slides for every song we sing in the worship service there is a declaration of copyright. It means it’s a declaration of who actually “owns” the rights to the songs we sing.

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