Summary: Part I in 3-part series on Stewardship. Challenges hearers to to be stewards of their time in such a way that truly expresses absolute love for God and sacrificial love for others.
STEWARDSHIP THAT LOVES ABSOLUTEY & SACRIFICIALLY
PART 1: TIME
Rev. Todd Leupold Perth Bible Church Sunday AM November 4, 2007
John 3:16 (emphasis on gave).
Having learned from God’s example, John Maxwell over 2,000 years later summarized one powerful lesson of this sacrifice when he wrote: “Giving is the highest level of living.” Perhaps you have instead heard it said that “to live is to give”. If this is true, and Christ made painfully clear He believes it is, what does it say about the extent to which you or I are really living?
You may have heard a time or two that our mission as Christians and as a church is “to love God absolutely and love others sacrificially.” Isn’t that what Christ epitomized upon the cross? What His death and pro-offered salvation were given for, that we may live likewise?
Ernest D. Standerfer, pastor of Valley View Baptist Church in Nashville, puts it this way: “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Let me repeat that . . . He continues, “If we love God, love our church, and love the new life we have in Christ, we will give. If genuine love motivates our giving, we will give like God – our best.”
But, what is that? What do we really have to give and how do we do so in the midst of so much need and want?
For the next three weeks, beginning this morning, we will be exploring together what God’s Word says about Stewardship. Put simply, stewardship refers to how we handle, protect and invest that which belongs to another and yet has been entrusted to us for a period of time. Your bank or financial advisor are stewards of your money. Your children are stewards of your family name and reputation. For a significant part of their developing lives, most of us grant one or more schools stewardship over our children’s education and personal development on multiple levels.
When we talk about Biblical stewardship, however, we are referring to what we do with all that God has entrusted to us that yet remains His. What does that include? Well, I kinda hate to bust some bubbles here (well, not really), but the answer is EVERYTHING! Everything you have, not just your possessions, but your personality, abilities, experiences, opportunities, family, friends, everything is His given and entrusted to you and to me! And all of these “things” are inseparably tied together.
Don’t believe me? Consider: Jesus taught more about money and possessions than He did about heaven or hell. In fact, the word “give” is used more than 1,500 times in the Bible. If you’re counting, that is more times than the words “faith,” “hope,” “love,” or even “pray.” Why? Because none of these concepts – faith, hope, love, or even prayer – can be authentically or consistently lived out apart from a heart of self-less generosity! God is a giver, not just any giver, but the most generous and arguably even reckless giver in the universe! He has given us everything – most of all His Son, His grace and forgiveness, His empowering and comforting Holy Spirit, His unconditional love, His purpose, His wisdom, etc. . . To each and every one of us, He has given Time, Talent and Treasure to steward out of love for Him and others to His glory!
This morning, I am asking us to focus our attention on how we steward our TIME. Did you know that in spite of all our wealth, learning, freedom and opportunity, a new study by the World Health Organization and the Harvard Medical School found the US of A to have the highest rate of depression of any of the 14 nations surveyed? More than war-torn Lebanon, job-starved Mexico, or rigid Japan. In fact, the country with the lowest depression rate was Nigeria – a land of tremendous poverty, civil war,
tribal and religious tensions, and corruption. Perhaps, just as shocking, can you guess what they concluded to be the primary reason for this discrepancy? Time – and the fact that we Americans have
too much of it that we are wasting! As Vince Siciliano, of the Wall Street Journal, put it: “. . . when your life is a struggle for clean water and adequate food, you don’t have time to indulge in existential despair” (The Week magazine, 3/23/07).
Friends, despite how we feel, despite how we often see or complain about it, our problem is NOT that we don’t have enough time. Rather, our problem is (1) knowing our time, (2) seeing urgency in our time, and (3) how we value (that is, use) our time!
SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 13:8-14
We love God absolutely when we knowingly and urgently value every moment the Lord provides us to love others sacrificially for His glory!!