Keith Hunt - Stewardship for God Restitution of All
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Stewardship for God

Serving with what you have

Stewardship

Orin and Sharon Dean


     Who is a steward? Webster's Dictionary defines a steward as
a person who administers someone else's finances and property.
According to the Student Bible Dictionary, stewardship is
accountability for deciding how best to spend the time, talents,
and possessions, God has given to us.
     God is the source of all things. In fact, we cannot give
anything to God that He has not first given us. Romans 11:36
says, "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things."
King David acknowledged this thought after the collection of the
offerings for the building of the temple in I Chronicles 29:14
saying, "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be
able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You,
and of Your own we have given You."
     He has given all these things to us so we nominally think of
them as "ours." But because all things really belong to God, we
should be more careful how we manage them.
     When we give, we are only giving back a portion of the
abundance He has given us. Some of us have less, some of us have
more, but we all have the privilege and opportunity to give back
to God what we do have.
          
     Tithing is designated to support the work of the church     
and offerings should not be confused with the tithe.   

Money

     What does the Bible say about money? Malachi 3:8,10 says,
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In
what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. Bring all
the tithes into the, storehouse that there may be food in My
house, and try Me now in this. . . . If I will not open for you
the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that
there will not be room enough to receive it."

(This is a teaching to Israel as a nation, the overall in Israel.
Jesus said the poor you will always have with you. The laws of
Moses helped the poor. This verse should not be understood or
taught as an individual dogmatic guarantee that YOU will have
material wealth - many of God's people down through history were
tithe paying people and were never materially wealthy - Keith
Hunt).

     In the Old Testament the tithe was to support the Levitical
priests who were appointed to be ministers to take care of the
house of God. Since the time of New Testament, tithing is
designated to support the work of the church. The tithe is not
"ours." If we use that portion of money for our own will or
pleasure, we are robbing God.
     Offerings should not be confused with the tithe. Though God
specifically stated what some offerings should be used for, most
were voluntary. Voluntary offerings are given according to our
own thoughts and directed by His Spirit in us. We think these
voluntary offerings are to test us to see if we would give and
help others without direct command.
     Jesus criticized the Pharisees because they put too much
emphasis on giving the tithe and did little to take care of the
needs of the people. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and
have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and
mercy and faith" (Matthew 23:23).

Time

     What do we do with our time? Do we (spend it on getting
"things" and forget about giving? Yes, we need to work. We are to
(labor earnestly. "Six days you shall labor land do all thy work"
(Exodus 20:9).
     Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do
it with your might."
     There is an appointed time on earth for man. Psalm 89:47
says, "Remember how, short my time is." "Whereas you do not, know
what will happen tomorrow. For what is life? It is a vapor that
appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). 
     Our time is always limited. What we do (with our time,
whether it is to labor, earn, give, or witness, is what really
counts. God is not interested in what we can do in our own
strength, but in what He can do through us.

     "And whatever you do in word or deed, do tall in the name of
     the Lord Jesus, giving (thanks to God the Father through
     Him" (Colossians 3:17).

     Paul says in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with
Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son
of God."
     Paul also says, "But what things were gain to me, these I
have counted loss for Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
     God wants us to do the right things and be righteous.
"Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices
righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous"
(I John 17).

     The prophet Hosea says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness...
for it is time to seek the Lord" (10.12).

     We need to seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance. We need to
believe in the Lord Jesus and do what He teaches us to do.
Whatever we do needs to be done willingly and with enthusiasm.

     By His grace, you shall be saved. But remember, "Not
everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of
Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven" (Matthew
7:21).

     God promises many blessings for those who do His will.

     Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come,
     you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for
     you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and
     you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you) took Me In; I
     was naked and you clothed Me; I was in prison and you came
     to Me .... inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My
     brethren, you) did it to Me (Matthew 25:34-36,40b).

     We cannot do anything for God except we do it for our
brother or sister. I John 4:20-21 says "If someone says, 'I love
God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not
love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he
has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who
loves God must love his brother also." So in reality, we serve
God by serving others.
               
          
     It is by His grace that we    
     have abundance. We need  
     to be good stewards and use   
     what God has given us. He     
     expects us to use those gifts 
     to the best of our ability.   
          
          
     It is by His grace that we have abundance. We need to be
good stewards and use what God has given us. When we give to our
brothers in need, we have done to Him.

Gifts

     Let's review the parable of the talents found in Matthew
25:14-30. A man gave talents (money) to his servants based on
each one's ability to use the talents. The man  returned from his
journey and asked his servants for an accounting of the money. He
rewarded each servant based on how they used the money, not
according to how much money they had been given. Jesus gives to
us gifts according to our abilities. He ,expects us to use those
gifts to the best of our ability. He will reward each person
based on how they use those gifts.

     "Every good gift and every perfect gift is "from above"
(James 1:17). Romans 12:6-8 states:

     Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is
     given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, let us prophesy
     in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in
     our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who
     exhorts; in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he
     who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with
     cheerfulness.

     "Give, and it will be given to you: good "Give pressed down,
shaken together, and running over" (Luke 6:38). When we give of
our time, talents, and possessions for the service of others, God
gives a full measure of blessing to us.

Love

     The parable of the Good samaritan found in Luke 10: 31-38
provides an example of being a good steward and showing love to
your neighbor. A man travelling along a road was robbed and
beaten. A priest and a Levite passed by, had opportunity to help,
but they took a detour to the other side of the road. A Samaritan
saw the man and had compassion on him. The Samaritan went out of
his way and took the time to stop and bandage the man's wounds.
He took him to an inn and gave money so that the man could be
properly cared for. He gave of what he had in order to take care
of the man's needs. Today we see many people who, have much and
do little. Then there are others who seem to have very little,
who do beyond their ability. God expects us to use what He gives
us, to help those in need.

     "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one
another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (I Peter
4:10).

     Paul writes, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even
in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Galatians
5:14). Christ said in John 15:12, "This is My commandment, that
you love one another as I have loved you."
               
          
     What we do with our time,     
     whether it is to labor, earn, 
     give, or witness, is what really   
     counts. God is not interested 
     in what we can do in our own  
     strength, but in what He can  
     do through us. 
          
               
     In the parable of the rich young ruler, the ruler said he
kept all the commandments, yet Jesus said to him, "if you want to
be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you
will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew
19:21). The important part of this verse is "follow Me." Jesus
wants us to exemplify the love and compassion He had for all
people.
     "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 moth nor rust
destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where
your treasure is, there your heart is also" (Matthew 6:19-21).


     "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

     We need to be careful about getting caught up with
accumulating the "things" of this world. As good stewards, we
need to use our resources and invest in the work of spreading the
good news about Jesus Christ.

     When we give of our time, talents and possessions, we are
sowing seeds in order to grow the Kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians
9:6,7 says, "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and
he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each
one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of
necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

     Psalm 100:2 says, "Serve the Lord with gladness." We can say
from personal experience that when you give of yourself (time,
money), God will bless you and give you more. It has been said
that you cannot out give God. God is faithful to us, but will we
be faithful to Him?

     Stewardship is a lifestyle of living in the will of God.
Each day we have opportunity to decide how we are going to use
our time, talents, and possessions. We need to seek God's
guidance and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

     "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it
is sin" (James 4:17). Sin separates us from God. If we are not
being obedient to God's commands, we are missing the blessings He
has promised.

     We challenge you to take a few minutes to evaluate how you
are using your time, talents, and possessions (what God has given
you) for the building of God's Kingdom. If you are not giving,
perhaps it is time to make some changes. The clock is ticking.
Time is running out. Today is your opportunity to be a good
steward of God's resources.

     Is your life God-centered or self-centered?
               
          
     We need to be careful about getting caught up with accu-    
mulating the "things" of this  world. When we give of our   
time, talents and possessions, we are sowing seeds in order to
grow the Kingdom of God. 
          
                             .................
          
          
Orin and Sharon serve in the Mountain Grove Church of God 7th Day
and the Springfield Church of Day 7th Day in Missouri. All
Scripture is from the New King James Version.

ACTS magazine June 2007, a publication of the Churches of God,
Meridian, ID, USA.


 
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