Summary: A look at examples of stewardship in the Gospel of John.
· So what is the “S” word?
· Hint – it’s a topic that is frequently avoided in polite Christian circles. One that we don’t like to discuss. One that we should talk about more that we do.
· Sin? Good guess. It comes close, but not quite.
· Sex? We could hear more good teaching on this subject, but I’m not going to try that today.
· Service? Sacrifice? No, its Stewardship. Almost guaranteed to strike fear in the heart of both the speaker and the listener.
· Christina Onassis: Happiness is not based on money. And the best proof of that is our family.
· Senator Everett Dirkson: You spend a billion here and a billion there. Sooner or later it adds up to real money.
· John Wesley: When the possessor of heaven and earth brought you into being and placed you in this world, He placed you here not as owner but as a steward.
· Ron Blue, author of Master Your Money: Stewardship is the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given goals.
A Yuppie Prayer
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray my Cuisinart to keep.
I pray my stocks are on the rise,
And that my analyst is wise,
That all the wine I sip is white
And that my hot tub’s watertight,
That racquetball won’t get too tough,
That all my sushi’s fresh enough.
I pray my cordless phone still works,
That my career won’t lose its perks,
My microwave won’t radiate,
My condo won’t depreciate.
I pray my health club doesn’t close
And that my money market grows.
If I go broke before I wake,
I pray my Volvo they won’t take.
· 1/6 of gospels and 1/3 of parables deal with stewardship
· words that do NOT appear in John: tithe, treasure, wealth, gold, silver, sacrifice
· Offering – once (8:20), but referring to the “place where offerings were put”
· Coin – once (2:15), in story of cleansing of the temple
· Money – two places: cleansing and in Mary anointing Jesus
Feeding of the 5000 John 6: 1 – 13
· Focus on verses 8, 9
· Humanize the story – we all know how little children are. See the boy listening to the conversation. He starts tugging at Andrew’s sleeve – “I’ve got my lunch here. You can give it to someone who is really hungry.” Andrew finally relents and takes the boy to Jesus.
· A little boy willing to share his lunch. It’s a small amount against an insurmountable need. Because he was willing to give, Jesus was able to work the miracle. The boy’s faith made the miracle possible. Philip and Andrew didn’t believe there was a solution.
· The boy was a steward – he probably didn’t make the bread, his mother gave it to him. He didn’t catch the fish or clean it, his father gave it to him. He had the tools for a great ministry and was willing to put them to put them to use when the time was right.
· Lesson: small gifts and faith are the ingredients of a miracle.
· Relate to our regular and faithful giving – our weekly offerings.
Mary Anointing Jesus John 12:1-8
· Long-term saving used in an extravagant act of worship.
· About a year’s wages poured out on Jesus feet
· Once poured out the oil could not be recovered, nor could it be used again. It was given completely and irrevocably.
· Mary must have saved for a long time to acquire the oil – it was very expensive. Have you been able to set aside a year’s income? How would you feel about giving it away?
· Perhaps she treasured the oil. Maybe she took the lid off the jar and just took in the pleasant aroma. She might have kept the jar in a special place of honor in the house.
· She was also a steward. Listen to Jesus’ words. (verse 7) “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” God allowed her to accumulate this perfume. He placed it in her trust. God then prompted her to use it in worship when the time was right. Are you open to God’s leading to use your resources for major gifts?
· Related to one-time gifts – planned giving through long-term accumulation of resources. Giving through trusts and wills.
Giving as a part of celebrations. John 13:27b-29
· The setting: around the table at the last supper. Judas has just been identified as the betrayer.
· Jesus tells Judas to do quickly that which he is to do, but the disciples do not yet understand.
· John fills us in. They thought Judas was getting something for the meal or giving something to the poor.