We are stewards of the mysteries of God and of God’s grace (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10). But stewardship also involves the time, possessions, and gifts that God has entrusted to us. This biblical understanding reminds us that all we possess is not our own; it has been entrusted to us by the Lord. We are stewards called to faithfully and wisely manage the Lord’s gifts so that they can be put to good service for His household, the kingdom of God.
Generosity begins and ends with God Himself. From the creation of the world, to the offer of a covenant relationship with Him in the Old Testament, to the giving of His only begotten Son, God’s essential character is generous, sacrificial giving. God so loved the world that He GAVE…
We are never more like God than when we learn to give from a generous overflowing heart. When we do, we experience the joy of joining God in the gregarious hilarity of generosity—changing the lives of those in need, bearing powerful witness to a world grown cynical from its own greed and despair, and on top of this, transforming the heart of the giver, too.
Intro by Pastor Allen Walworth
From a biblical point of view, stewardship touches every aspect of our lives. We are called to faithfully utilize all that God has given us. This is a lifestyle we accepted when we came to Christ. God gives us much and so there are many paths to mirroring His generosity. We are called to give…
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moths nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
Ownership and stewardship are the contradictions of giving. Ownership says, “This is mine, but I will give it to you”; whereas stewardship says, “This is yours; I’m giving it back to you.” So, when you think about giving, what perspective do you hold? In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us of a rich young man who obeyed the commandments but lacked one thing. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). Scripture tells us that the young man went away sad because he had great wealth. If only he had recognized the idea of stewardship, how different his response might have been.
2) Time and Talents
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NRSV)
There is a parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25 in which a man going on a journey gave portions of his estate to different individuals. Two of the men took the money they’d been given and invested it wisely, increasing the amount so that when the master returned, he was pleased with them both. But the third man allowed fear to determine his path and buried the money to ensure that nothing would happen to it. When he returned it to the master, the master was upset that he did nothing with the resource with which he was entrusted. The same could be said of our talents and our time; both are given to us by God and He expects us to care for them well and to use them, not bury them. At the end of the story, the master took the bag of gold from the third man and gave it to the first man. God’s blessings will not be wasted. If we won’t use them, He will give them to someone who will.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 (ESV)
How is one generous with prayer? Many know the story of Job, a man who loved and served God and lost everything. During this season, his friends arrived to support and comfort him; however, they believed he had done something wrong and that God was punishing him. As a result, they continued urging him to repent even though he was blameless. After extensive poor counsel, God addressed them telling them He was angry and instructed them to make a burnt offering for themselves. In Job 42:8 God says “…My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.” And verse 10 continues “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” How difficult that must have been for Job to pray forgiveness for those who deeply hurt him, but also how generous and gracious.
Jesus instructs in Luke 6 to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Generosity in prayer is being obedient to the Lord’s instructions and praying for those we feel least deserve it.
4) Spiritual Gifts
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Have you ever received a present, gift wrapped with a beautiful bow? You were so grateful and full of joy that you took the wrapped gift and put it on a shelf to admire. When people came to visit, you’d point out the gift-wrapped box and say, “Isn’t it lovely?” Of course not! The wrapping isn’t the gift; it’s what’s inside. Well, God has given each of us a beautifully wrapped spiritual gift and far too often we place it on a shelf and tell people, “Look what God gave me!” When they ask what it is, we look confused and say, “I don’t really know.” How much better to take the gift down, open it up and use what’s inside!
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT) teaches us: “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
Do you think maybe it’s time for you to unwrap the gifts God has given you?