Stewards of our Faith

 

Scripture: (Luke 12:42 KJV) And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
 

This is stewardship Sunday. What does that mean? I did not know at first, but that was all that God gave me for this weeks message. I thought it was just about tithes and offerings. I know every Sunday sermon that I ever heard about stewardship was about give and it shall be given, a workman is worth his hire, where your treasure lies there your heart lies also, God loves a cheerful giver and, well, I am sure you have heard all the rest. That really just is not me. I know that I should be teaching you all about tithing and the blessings that come from it, but I also know that most of you who take the time to read these messages either already give to your local church or you are so sick and tired of hearing preachers say send me the money that you have not even darkened the door of a church for years. So needless to say I spent a lot of time in prayer over this message and as I researched in both the Greek and Hebrew, as well as my usual sources of sermon helps, I began to discover the great truth that God had for us in this stewardship Sunday message.
 

So, now you know what my message is not about. But what then is it about? First of all you have to know the purpose that causes my heart to beat is to lead, even just one person, hopefully many, to the knowledge of the truth of God's love for them in the person of Jesus Christ. All who call themself by the name of Christian should also have the cause of Christ center in their hearts and that is to seek and save the lost. Yah, yah, yah... I can hear someone saying how they have heard it all before already. Do you know someone actually told me in a church once that they were not going to put on any program just to save the lost. Well, I am so sorry, I thought that that was what we were suppose to be doing. I know I can get real arrogant at times but let's stop playing games and define our objectives. So first then you need to not look at another's salvation but look at your own. Remember I am preaching this to myself also. I want to know that I know that I know that my salvation is secure. And in that I can not put my hope in any priest or pastor or rabbi or any other man, but the one who shed His blood and died for me so that I can have life. Look, the idea of being a good steward is to be a great manager. There we go, now we are getting to the message.

In both the Hebrew and the Greek the words translated steward come down to being a manager. One Hebrew word points to the idea of being the heir. Another talks of being a great and mighty champion. In champion, I think it is talking about how in Old English days someone would champion another in a battle or joist. In the Greek the words translated, show the idea of being over a thing or being a guardian. One interesting word epitropos comes from two words epi meaning over and tropos meaning to turn a revolution by any means or way. Have I lost anyone yet. I apologies for getting so much into this intellectual rationalization of these words but hang in there and watch as God opens this tight bud into a beautiful bloom of self discovery.

Let's just take the idea of being a manager. Many reading today either are now or have been managers in their past. In that, you know both the rewards and the consequences of the position. The rewards of course besides the sometimes higher pay scale, is recognition and accomplishment. It is so good to have that feeling of accomplishment. Many times you do not even have to get any recognition for it. In fact often you feel better to pass that recognition on to someone or others in your team that helped you reach and even surpass your goal. But there are other times when the pressure has been on for a long time and it was difficult for you to keep others imagining that there was a light at the end of the tunnel let alone seeing one, that a little recognition sure goes a long way. Our Church has three ladies that have spent almost eight years going through this intense Bible School. This spring they are going to get a little recognition by going up to Des Moines for their graduation. they accomplished a great feat and are going to receive a wonderful recognition for it. 

Now for the other side. Every manager also knows the down side. When the people they have hand picked and trained and are motivating daily are just not producing the desired or intended results. You know the axe falls hardest on you. Being a manager has the greatest rewards but it also holds the greatest responsibilities. For you are not just responsible for your own job but the job of those under you and the performance of the company as a whole. Not every one is up to a challenge like that but guess what? That is the position that God has called you into only on a much bigger and more important scale. Now, I could ramble on for hours telling you about my own personal victories and failures in business but let's let God take over and get into His word and see what He has for us in all of this.

We are reading out of the 12th chapter of Luke. This chapter starts out with Jesus telling His disciples to beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. This is the chapter where Jesus tells us how God knows the very number of hairs on your head, and how everything that is said in secret will be proclaimed upon the roof tops. (ouch) He then gives us the hope that is in Him and reminds us that if we would confess Him before men He will confess us before the angels of God. I have to stop right there because this is important. If you represent a company then you are not afraid to say so. In fact if you know that you work for a great company with good pay and a wonderful benefit package you are going to let other people know about it. And if you are a manager in that company and need to fill those position then you are going to be running adds in the paper, listing the positions with job service, notifying headhunters and even getting creative to fill those position and in that help those who become employed, help yourself in your position and help the company as a whole. But if you bad mouth the company and tell applicants what a lousy job it is and what not, you most likely will not be with that company for very long. The same goes for your walk with Christ. If you are just telling yourself that you are a Christian but still out there living your old unchanged, foul mouthed, self centered life then maybe you might want to take a good look and see who is LORD of your life. What is interesting is how a manager or steward looks after the lords property or affairs. Do you belong to Jesus? Are you a Child of the King of Kings or does satan still claim some area of your life? My suggestion is that you step up to the plate and do your job as a steward of your faith and let satan know that his position has been filled by another and His name is Jesus. Then if need be, have satan escorted out of your heart by the angels of God and reap the rewards of being a great manager for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

We do not have time to go over all of this so please read the 12th chapter of Luke for yourself this week and reap the rich reward found in the wisdom of God's very word. I want to get right down to this idea of you and me being stewards of our faith. I do not know about you but I'll bet you, like me long to hear those words, well done thou good and faithful servant. One problem I discovered in both spiritual matters and on the job that I want to share with you and I will try to close with this. Being a manager or a steward is a great responsibility as well as a great opportunity but you can never forget that you are the manager not the owner. You can not just go out and do things your own way and not pay any attention to the plan that the C.E.O. has laid out. Many have tried and many have failed also causing the destruction of others along the way. On a spiritual path you can not rely upon your own ideas of right and wrong. You can not go off in your own direction expecting to find the gates of the new Jerusalem. Charles Spurgeon used this illustration. Imagin yourself climbing a mountain and a blizzard comes upon you and you are in grave danger. Then a guide come up to you and lets you know that they have spent their entire life on the slopes of that mountain and can help you down. They only thing they demand of you is that you follow them. do not go to the right or to the left no matter how right it might look to you. That is the way of the Cross. You can not make that which is wrong turn into something right no matter how hard you try to imply some humanistic manipulation. You can not color the truth away. You have been called to be a steward of the faith. In that, there are many responsibilities. Also in that, there are many rewards. The good news is that God knew who He was calling when He called you and He is more than able to direct you through the toughest terrain. 

So what about this being stewardship Sunday and all that talk of tithes and offerings? Well, you know I might be getting old and I am not as good looking as I use to be but my Momma did not raise a Fool. (except being one for Christ) This ministry is encouraged and motivated and given the ability to reach more and more people for the kingdom of God by your being good stewards of what God has supplied to you. If, after careful prayer God lais it on your heart to send us a love offering or, if you are regular reader of The Encouraging Word and would like to partner with us by committing your tithes to this ministry then I know you will experience more joy from being the good and faithful steward that God has called you to be, then by having all the riches of the world. There is great reward in being a faithful steward and giving back to God a portion of that which He has given to you. 

But first and foremost you need to be a steward of your faith. Please, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your LORD and savior then now is the time and today is the day that your life turns around. You might remember I was talking about that Greek word that was translated steward that talked about turning something a revolutions. The word is epitropos. The turn around in your life is going to come from above. OH, there is so much joy in being a true man or woman of God. Let each of us today commit to be better managers of all that God has entrusted us to. In our families, in our jobs, in our communities, in our nation, in the world. But let it not just be some vague humanistic good deed doing, but let our lives lift up the name of Jesus Christ and let other's know that it is Christ that gives us the wisdom and strength and power to reach higher heights. Soar with the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS. Let God bring in the harvest in your life today, tomorrow and forever. In Jesus name Amen.