Summary: God has called us to be constantly fanning the spiritual flames inside us, and it is up to us to train ourselves to make the Spiritual Disciplines part of our routine, or lifestyle.
Steps to Stewardship
Eric Hulstrand writes in Leadership magazine: “While I was preaching one Sunday, an elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance.
As they strapped her to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door, Mary regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what could be her final words. The daughter leaned over until her ear was at her mother’s mouth.
She whispered, ’My offering is in my purse.’ “
In this story we have an excellent picture of what it means to have the right heart condition for stewardship. The woman’s last words showed what was of highest importance to her - to be a good steward of gifts God had given her.
Over the last month we’ve been examining the Spiritual Disciplines we need to constantly be applying in our daily routine. And up until now, they’ve been what you could consider “Internal Disciplines”, focusing on the inward change. Today we shift to the “Outward Disciplines”. The focus here is how we allow the Internal Disciplines to directly affect how we are disciplined outwardly.
In Simple terms: We are changed on the inside, and now we must show it!
This morning I want to examine what it means to Practice Good Stewardship.
1. The Biblical Principal
stew·ard Date: before 12th century
1: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts)
I like this definition, because when we think of it in light of God’s house, we too are “employed” and are set to the task of managing His affairs here on earth aren’t we?
Psalm 24:1 (NLT)
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it
God has given us everything!
There’s a story of a preacher who once delivered a rousing sermon on “God’s Ownership” that frustrated a rich parishioner in the church. The wealthy man took the preacher out for lunch, and then walked him through his immense land, including farm and livestock. “Now are you going to tell me that all this land does not belong to me?” The preacher smiled and said, “Ask me that same question a hundred years from now.”
Everything we have, we have because God gave it to us; they are His blessing for us. And in the scope of Good Stewardship, we recognize that we are in the employment and service of The King, and he has asked that we in turn properly “steward” what he has given us.
STEWARDSHIP: Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.
- Holman Bible Dictionary
So what will we do with what he has given us? Will we hoard it? Will we be miserly, giving expecting a return; will we give because we have some left over? Or will we simply give because it was first given to us?
Deuteronomy 26:1-3 (NLT)
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, 2 put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. 3 Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the Lord your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’
We should all be wise to follow the model of Stewardship in this passage, as it shows us the steps to begin Good Stewardship: Giving God Our Firsts!
When we give God our firsts, we are demonstrating that God is top priority in all we have, and do.
2. Give God the first part of your Day
This may seem simple, but it may be tougher than it looks.
But this is a very important step towards good stewardship because you’re taking the time to first acknowledge God before you begin anything. Look at the example that Jesus gave us:
Mark 1:35 (NLT)
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Jesus understood the importance of spending time with His Father in Solitude. Your time can be a time of study, prayer or worship—but the focus must be dedication of the time to God!
Remember, if you’re relationship with God is not priority one, everything else in your life will seem like a chasing after the wind.