Last Week's Summary
Thank you so much Pastor Caroline for the continuation of the series. She made some very deep and intriguing points that I wish to underline for us as I bring the last instalment for the series of Generous Spirit.
She said that Solomon gave because his father was a giver, meaning learning can be taught.
She said that it takes faith to give.
She also said that we don't give because of our selfishness.
She challenged us to reflect and asked us to learn from Jesus, the most generous giver.
Thank you, Pastor Caroline.
Today, continuing on with the generous spirit series, the title of this sermon is Stewardship Giving. Please stand up as we honour God in the reading of His word.
“Again, heaven’s kingdom is like a wealthy man who went on a long journey and summoned all his trusted servants and assigned his financial management over to them. Before he left on his journey, he entrusted a bag of five thousand gold coins to one of his servants, to another a bag of two thousand gold coins, and to the third a bag of one thousand gold coins, each according to his ability to manage. “The one entrusted with five thousand gold coins immediately went out and traded with the money, and he doubled his investment. In the same way, the one who was entrusted with two thousand gold coins traded with the sum and likewise doubled his investment. But the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. “After much time had passed, the master returned to settle accounts with his servants. The one who was entrusted with five thousand gold coins came and brought ten thousand, saying, ‘See, I have doubled your money.’ “Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!” ’ “Then the one who had been entrusted with two thousand gold coins came in and said, ‘See, my master, I have doubled what you have entrusted to me.’ “Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you were faithful to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!” ’ “Then the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins came to his master and said, ‘Look, sir. I know that you are a hard man to please and you’re a shrewd and ruthless businessman who grows rich on the backs of others. I was afraid of you, so I went and hid your money and buried it in the ground. But here it is—take it, it’s yours.’ “But his master said to him, ‘You’re an untrustworthy and lazy servant! If you knew I was a shrewd and ruthless business man who always makes a profit, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? Then I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. But because you were unfaithful, I will take the one thousand gold coins and give them to the one who has ten thousand. For the one who has will be given more, until he overflows with abundance. And the one with hardly anything, even what little he has will be taken from him.’ “Then the master said to his other servants, ‘Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!’ ” Matthew 25:14-30 TPT.
Church, just as prayer has to be taught, giving must be taught, and Jesus taught about giving. This parable is an example of Jesus' teaching on giving.
I'm sure that you would agree with me that man's default nature is to hoard. Give a 2-year-old some sweets, keep giving, and then stop and ask him or her to give you some of the sweets; a good number will say no! And so one of the responsibilities of every good parent is to teach their children from a tender age the virtue of giving, to teach them gratitude by saying "thank you" and teach them to be courteous by simply greeting others.
And yes, one of the Pastor's responsibilities is to teach believers biblical giving. Biblical giving is different, as you will soon find out. Let us pray.
Father, give grace of teaching, give grace of understanding, and give grace of liberation in Jesus' name. Amen.
Church, I believe as believers in this day and age, we need deeper revelation and understanding of giving. Our understanding of giving must be rooted within the context of stewardship giving. There is a world of difference between giving and stewardship giving.
Distinction between stewardship and giving.
Stewardship means giving, but giving doesn't mean stewardship. Hold on, friends. Let's start with definitions.
Biblical view on stewardship
Stewardship is "using and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation. Charles Bugg (Holman Bible Dictionary.
One of the responsibilities of Christians is faithful stewardship—the appropriate use of resources—the idea that Christians have been given the responsibility to manage resources that God has committed to their care.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:7-17 KJV
Stewardship involves giving, and it means managing and controlling the use of some things, including but not limited to financial resources.
Biblical stewardship is grounded in the spiritual but lived out in the physical.
Biblical stewardship is the worship of God with the resources that he has entrusted to our hands.
Biblical stewardship is the use of God’s resources for the promotion of God’s kingdom and his interests.
Biblical stewardship is the resourceful use of resources.
Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care, for example, by the managing director of a company, a charity organization, or the president of a country. The resources of the company and the charity don't belong to the managing director, nor do the resources of the country belong to the president.
Take, for example, the resources of a registered charity such as this church. Its resources do not belong to the trustees, the leadership team, or the pastors; these individuals are stewards of these resources, meaning they don't own them; they are to be careful and responsible managers of the resources.
Stewardship is the responsible management of what belongs to another. From the beginning, we owned nothing; we came into this world with nothing, and we would leave with nothing. The breath in us that made us a living soul belongs to God, and when we came into existence, we were given stewardship.
Who planted the garden? How did you ensure that the garden was well watered? Who buried mineral resources like gold in the earth? Who filled the ocean with fish?
Who has the responsibility to dress it and keep it? Man. There you have it. We came into the world with nothing, and we are going to leave it with nothing. There is the story of a rich man who was about to die, and he asked his wife to bury his wealth with him. She, being a dutifully married wife, did exactly that. She left a check for all he had in the coffin. She expects him to cash the check in the afterlife!
Giving, on the other hand, outside of the context of stewardship, means to offer or present something to another; it has a strong notion of personal ownership and entitlement. It is mine. My time, my money, and my talent.
The difference between stewardship and giving is the contextual understanding that all the resources at our disposal are gifts from God and must be used responsibly.
The very idea that we own nothing and that everything that we have has essentially been gifted to us by God means that we're simply stewards—people who are required to faithfully and carefully manage the resources committed into their care, knowing fully well that they will be held accountable for the way that they handle the resources.
In this passage, Jesus explains to us what it means to be a steward.
I. A steward must be trustworthy.
He or she must be worthy of the trust given. To be trustworthy is to be dependable, reliable, and trusted to do what you have been asked to do.
In this parable, these servants were entrusted with money. They were expected to work hard and invest the money entrusted to them. One was entrusted with 5k, the other with 2k, and the other with 1k. Each according to his ability—verse 15 Note the church; they don't own the money; it was the master’s money. Likewise, the resources you have are not yours in the true sense of ownership.
They were given to you. Your time is not yours; you were gifted with the gift of time, and we don't know how long we have been given, as Paul says to the Ephesians Church. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, Ephesians 5:15 KJV
Your talents were gifted to you. Yes, you have to work at it and be diligent in refining it; it was given to you. Your proclivity to do that thing you now do so well is a gift to you.
Now let's talk about your money. Your money is also not yours in the true sense of ownership. You used your time that you were gifted with and your talent that you were gifted with to make money, so it's not yours. The question is, "Are we dependable and trustworthy to do right with what we have been resourced with? Can you be trusted to bring back to the storehouse, the church, the tithe? The test of your trustworthiness is what you do with what has been entrusted to you.
Is it interesting that God starts by entrusting us. He gave first ever before we proved to him our trustworthiness. Even though he knows the end from the beginning, he still give us an opportunity to prove ourselves.
What exactly are we to do with the resources entrusted to our care?
II. A steward must be a great investor.
Jesus told us in his parable that two of the servants traded their talents. Some translations use the wordinvest, since they were given money. Friends, as you work hard and invest, please note that investment is not only in yourselves; investment is not only in stocks and shares; it's not only in properties. Investment is also in people; investment is also in communities.
And yes, you do get returns when you pour your life's resources into people, into community, into a household of faith. Some of the returns you get are
Joy: joy knowing that God used you to change a destiny; joy knowing that your life was not a waste; joy knowing that the master rejoices over you for your investment. Vs. 21: You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, "Enter into the joy of your Lord!".
Favour. The favour of God. Favour is like a mark of acceptance; wherever you go, people accept and fall in love with you. There is the story of a young man who went to the university and got a very good job even before he completed his master's. His father, knowing that his son was simply enjoying the favour of God and had seemingly done little for humanity, challenged his son by saying, Though you are my first son, you're not the first child that your mother and I have sponsored. We have sponsored many through the university. Some of the returns on our investment are enjoyed by our children.
Legacy. the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past or in a person’s life.
Measure thy life by loss and not by gain; not by the wine drunk but by the wine that pours forth. For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice, and he that suffereth most has most to give. Ugo Bassi
"And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29.
III. A steward must be faithful.
Faithfulness includes trustworthiness, but it is more than that. It means to have complete trust and to be loyal and committed to the master and his vision. One may be reliable and trusted to carry out a particular task, but that individual may not be faithful. They may have their own agenda.
In the parable, the faithful servants not only handled the talents responsibly but also understood that their efforts were ultimately for the benefit of the master, and they were aligned with the master's vision and purpose. "The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! ' Matthew 25:21 NLT
Faithfulness of the stewards We have all been entrusted with something. Our character and competence level will determine how much more we will be entrusted with. We all have at least one talent. Trust must be placed in stewardship. Before the assets of a nation were entrusted to Jospeh, God tried him out with the wealth of Potiphar. You will always be tested. The thing is that you often don't know when the test will be. Jospeh was only being himself.
From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat! Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. "Come and sleep with me," she demanded. But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God. Genesis 39:5–9 NLT
IV. A Steward must be Accountable.
This is huge. We must live with a sense of accountability. We will be called to give an account of what God has entrusted us with. Would you be eager to give an account, or would you be full of lame excuses? A sense of accountability ensures that you don't waste time and that you leverage every opportunity.
Biblical stewardship is the Christian realisation and revelation that we have been gifted with resources for our enjoyment and for the promotion of the interests of God, who has resourced us.
As a church, we can grow in our stewardship, and we ought to grow. All have been entrusted with something.
Our character and competence level will determine how much more we will be entrusted with. The parable of the talent show shows that we all have at least one talent, and we can increase or decrease what we trust. May the Lord bless us as we heed his words. Amen.