Summary: When we think of stewardship, we often see it merely as a matter of our giving of money to God and the church. Giving of tithes and offerings is an important aspect of stewardship, but secondary. Stewardship is a reflection of my relationship with God.
Stewardship is Lordship
Proverbs 3:5-10 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones. Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase: So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.
INTRODUCTION: Normally when we think of stewardship, we consider it merely as a matter of our giving of money to God through the church. While the giving of tithes and offerings is an important aspect of stewardship, it is secondary. Pastor Bob Groves says, “Stewardship is the way I handle those things in my life that God has given me…The Management of my God-given resources for His glory & for the good of others…” Stewardship is a reflection of my relationship to my God and my Savior. As I observe the truths contained in Proverbs 3, I see a pattern for stewardship that asserts loudly and clearly “Stewardship is Lordship!”
I. MY HEART – HIS HEART (Trust in the LORD with all your heart)
A. At the heart of every true act of stewardship, every work of ministry, every acceptable act of worship is the heart, a heart close to God.
B. John 14:23 "Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him’."
C. A French soldier who had served ably in Napoleon’s army lay dying of a wound received in battle. As they probed his shattered ribs to find the fatal bullet he said, "Dig a little deeper and you will find the emperor." If we dug deeply enough, would we find Christ in our hearts? That’s a question we all must ask ourselves. - Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
D. As Sir Walter Raleigh was about to be executed, he was asked which way he preferred to lay his head on the block. He replied, "So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lies." [Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).]
E. Proverbs 23:26 "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."
F. In the musical Les Miserables the song “Do You Hear the People Sing?” there is a stanza that says, “When the beating of your heart, Echoes the beating of the drums – There is a life about to start”. May I say that when the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of Christ’s heart – There is a life of credible stewardship about to start.”
II. MY MIND – HIS MIND (lean not unto your own understanding)
A. Oswald Chambers (1874-19170, “Christian thinking is a rare and difficult thing; so many seem unaware that the first great commandment according to our Lord is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . with all thy mind."
B. Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee."
C. 2 Corinthians 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
D. Stewardship involves allowing God to work in us. Tozer said, “To do his gracious work God must have the intelligent cooperation of his people. If we would think God’s thoughts, we must learn to think continually of God.”
E. I Corinthians 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
F. Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
G. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
III. MY WAYS – HIS WAYS (In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.)
A. Way – path or direction. Is the direction of your life consistent with the direction that God wants for your life?
B. Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."
C. God instructed King David as recorded in 1 Kings 2:4 "That …if David’s children would take heed to their way; to walk before God in truth with all their heart and with all their soul; he not fail have one of his descendants perpetually on the throne of Israel." (Paraphrased)