Summary: This is the third in a stewardship series but can be used stand alone. It investigates the stewardship lessons found in the giving of a poor widow.
Building a Life of Christian Stewardship
Pt 3 – Finishing the Inside
We’ve spent the first two weeks of stewardship month dealing with the major portions of building this life of Christian Stewardship. First was the foundation established in God’s ownership and our management of His creation. Last week we built the walls firmly established in the ability of God to do miracles if we only bring Him the little we have.
This week things slow down a bit. Have you ever seen a house being built? It seems to take no time at all to go from bare ground to a standing structure, then everything slows down. Have you ever noticed that the inside takes a lot longer to build than the outside? It’s true for our lives of stewardship as well. Because the inside work deals with our attitudes, our assumptions about life, and our spiritual journey with God.
I want you to look with me this morning at one of the greatest stewardship lessons Jesus ever taught His disciples.
Who is the steward in this passage? Last week it was a little boy with his lunch – this week it’s a poor widow with nothing to her name. Let’s look at what this woman can teach us about stewardship.
1) Stewards Understand the Now - The fact that this woman gave is incredible to me. Understand a little bit about this woman’s life. She was a widow – her husband had died. She had no sons or other family in her life. If she had it would have been their responsibility to take care of this woman. If she had sons or brothers or brothers in law even she would have been provided for. But like Naomi in the Old Testament this widow had no one on which to rely so she was reduced to living off the kindness of strangers or gleaning from the fields. Understand this widow had nothing – not the nothing you and I like to talk about – she had literally nothing. Jesus said that the two copper coins she put into the treasury represented all that she had to sustain her. Yet she gave. Her giving demonstrates a great principle of stewardship and that is that stewardship deals with right now. Stewardship is a now issue, it deals with present realities and present resources. What are you doing right now with your life? We live lives that say “tomorrow I will” , “When such and such happens I will…”. When I retire I will give my time. No you won’t. When I have more money I will. No you won’t. When I learn more I will. No you won’t. If you are not a steward now – you won’t be a steward then. This is about God working in us. God doesn’t call us to give from our excess – no one ever has excess. He calls us to give from our poverty – a faith offering that starts a miracle. Bring me your lunch, your pennies, your minutes and I will do with them what only I can do.
2) Stewards Are Moved by Love – All the others who came that day gave out of their excess but she gave the very last that she had to live on. She didn’t know where her next meal was coming from – but she gave. Here is a great principle for us today: stewardship begins with loving, not giving. Can you imagine with me for a moment this widow – seeing all the gold and silver shining in those treasury boxes? Then the copper coins in her hand. My copper has no meaning in the context of that gold. But it did. It is my contention that Jesus was standing there for one purpose and one purpose alone – to see this gift of love. We never see Him standing in this place before or after but this day a wonderful thing is going to happen. A widow with nothing, out of a heart of love will give God all she has. On this subject John Maxwell says it wasn’t utility that moved her (her coins were worthless), it wasn’t obligation (no one cared), it was simple love that moved her. Folks love gives Lust takes. Often in our relationships with God and others we confuse the two. If love is not the foundation of my relationship with God I am always going to have a problem. The basis of my stewardship has got to be the fact that I love Him with all my heart, my soul, and my strength. Time, talent, worship, gifts, money are given not because we have to but because we can’t do anything else. Love says how much can I give. Lust says how little can I get away with.