― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Other than sin, is there anything in your life that didn't come from God?
Stewardship -- careful management of something entrusted to your care.
God has called us to be stewards of everything in our lives -- all of creation and every gift He gives us. Even our children belong to God.
"This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed." 1 Corinthians 4:1
"The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;" Psalm 24:1
"The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it." Psalm 89:11
"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Corinthians 4:7
No such thing as a "self-made" person. God has given us all things. We are made by God. Everything, our careers, our success, our family, relationships, stuff, money, everything is from God.
We were called to be stewards from the Beginning of Creation:
"God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Genesis 2:15
Sin is a lack of stewardship -- a neglect, a not doing something we are supposed to do (or not do). We are called to care for all of creation.
Who Do You Work for?
God gave us our jobs for a purpose. Yes, those you work to earn money -- those are gifts from God for His purposes.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24
Work for Jesus. Don't do it for people praise. If you have a job that is a blessing. If you don't like your job do it for Jesus. If you do like your job do it for Jesus. If you have a contrary boss, work there for Jesus. Do it all for Jesus. Our labor is a blessing.
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
If we seek God first, and work for God God will bless our efforts.
Higher Standards for Christians
We understand what we have received.
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Even your body belongs to God. Your body has a purpose. It was bought with a price. Realize it is God's property and treat it as such. Do not abuse it. Do not bad mouth it. That body God loves and created for His purposes.
"This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
In the end God wants to find us faithful. We need Him to find us faithful.
We have much, therefore . . .
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:47-48
If you know better than do better. We will be held responsible for what we have been given and what we know.
What are we stewards of?
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37-38
Our Time, our Talents, our Treasures:
We are not promised time. You cannot add time to your life. Once a day is gone you will never get it back. We must take the opportunities God gives us or we may never get another chance. Our days are numbered.
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Where does your mind wander to when it isn't preoccupied? It should go to the things noted above in Phil 4:8.
Whatever skills or talents we have we have for God's purposes. They are given out to individuals.
"I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." 1 Corinthians 7:7
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:10-11
Everything we do should glorify God.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 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." 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
God loves cheerful givers! God always gives back more than we ever give. It all belongs to Him. And yes treasures include money, home family, relationships, children....everything! You have $400. You give God $40 cheerfully. But what if God asks for the entire $400? It all belongs to HIm. We are to give however we are led cheerfully.
The widow who put in 2 coins. She gave it all without calling attention to herself. She gave it all. Give willingly. This pleases God.
"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me." 1 Coriinthians 4:2-4
Am I doing everything I can?
Am I giving everything I can give?
Am I doing the best I can?
It doesn't matter what people think or even what we ourselves think. God will be the one who judges us. His judgment is the one that counts.
So how do we apply this?
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Luke 12:35-40
Always be ready for Jesus's return. No matter what. This applies to absolutely everyone.
"Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?" Luke 12:41-42
We each want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Where is your heart, your mind, your money, your time, your job?