Steward: One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.

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1 Lesson 6 Stewardship Steward: One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs. Stewardship: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward. The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care Biblical Stewardship Stewardship is an expression of discipleship. Disciples who practice stewardship recognize God as the origin and source of who they are and all they have. The idea is that we take scrupulous care of that which God has entrusted to us, and give it out to others faithfully and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. All we possess--our time, talents, treasure, and ourselves--have been entrusted to us by God and we are to use them to advance His kingdom and to His glory (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; 4:10-11; Luke 19:11-26). Stewardship of Self Read Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Who I am is a gift from God, and all that I am is to be surrendered back to God. An archaic definition of surrender is to return or restore. Surrendering to God can only come about through a restored relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Because we have new and eternal life in Christ, we offer back or return to God the lives that He has freely given us at the cost of the life of His Son. Our calling to stewardship includes all of areas of life family, church, friends, workplace, and community. Read Luke 12:42-46 Jesus seems to imply that we are to act as stewards in His absence, attending to all the affairs of the Master. As disciples we were left in charge of the ministry of the Gospel and are to use our time, talent, and treasure on behalf of God and in behalf of others until His return. Stewardship of Time Time a unique resource. It cannot be accumulated like money or material possessions. We are forced to use it, whether we choose to or not. We should not waste the time God has given us. Read Psalm 90:12. 19

2 Numbering our days includes evaluating the use and management the where, when and how we spend our time. If we are too busy to spend time in prayer, Bible study, and serving others, then we need to ask ourselves why. Numbering our day s means spending quality time, not just a quantity of time. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17). Read Galatians 6:9-10 Our time is to be used in meeting the needs of others both inside and outside the church. But there is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Life both inside and outside of the church can have huge impact on our time. In the world and in the church, there can be too many meetings, programs, and other constraints on the believer. This can result in a debilitated relationship with God and with one another. This is why we need to understand what the will of the Lord is. It is spending time with the Lord in prayer and in his Word, thinking and meditating, and grasping His truth that allows us to serve others both effectively and efficiently. It is how we discern where, when, and how our time should be spent to further His kingdom and to bring Him honor. We gain wisdom from spending quality and quantity time with God and it is during that period that we learn how to number our days and to make the most of our time. Read Mark 1:35-39 It doesn t matter who we are, we will never be able to meet every need nor accomplish all that needs to be done. While in the flesh, Jesus healed hundreds of people. But for every hundred he healed, there were thousands He did not heal, minister to, or serve. It was because He knew that the need does not always constitute the call. Jesus walked in total dependency upon the Father who regulated and directed Jesus ministry according to His will (John 4:34; 8:26-29). Stewardship of time does not mean we cannot enjoy the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time to laugh, dance, embrace and know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God (Ecc. 3:4-5; 12-13). But we must not fix our hope on life s uncertainties or the world s pleasures especially wealth, but on God alone (Matthew 6:25-33). We are to appropriately enjoy the good things of life and also find time to do what the Will and Word of the Lord are calling us to do. 20

3 Stewardship of Talent As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11.) Every believer has been blessed with at least one spiritual gift so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ and for the building up of the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Spiritual gifts are given by the grace of God. That is why they are called gifts. They cannot be earned. They are not given because some people are more spiritual than others; they are allotted as the Spirit chooses. Every gift and every member is important (1 Corinthians 12:12-30). There is no room for boasting (Romans 12:3-8). Stewardship of Treasure Read Matthew 6:19-24 Throughout the entire Bible there are roughly 2,350 verses concerning money. On the other hand, Scripture has 500 verses on prayer and less than 500 verses on faith. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables of Jesus deal with money. The only subject Jesus spoke of more often was the Kingdom of God. Why? Because the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that there is a fundamental connection between a person's spiritual life and his attitudes and actions concerning money. There is nothing that reveals our spiritual condition and relationship with God like our attitude toward money. Jesus Christ made it clear that the mark of a person s true spiritual orientation was a right attitude toward wealth. The true spirituality of a man is seen or determined by his preoccupation with God or his preoccupation with earthly treasures. You cannot serve God and wealth. The Bible requires that the Christian view money differently from the way the world views it. It does not require that a Christian despise money. Money is a necessity for basic living. It s the love of money that the Bible warns against (1 Timothy 6:10). Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). So what should the Christian attitude be towards giving? We cannot beat God s giving. He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else (Romans 8:32)? 21

4 Believing in God offers a lifetime of wealth and true eternal riches. It is God who stands by and blesses his children in immeasurable amounts-this promise, not money, truly satisfies. In giving, we show our dependency upon God and we acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from Him (James 1:17). Giving is an act of worship (Matthew 2:10-12). It is about returning a portion of the gifts we are given as an expression of love and gratitude towards God. All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own, have we given thee One of God s basic ways to provide for our needs is through work (2 Thess. 3:6-12; Prov. 25:27). Bethlehem is a tithing church. Tithing is giving a tenth of your income. We strive to tithe. Tithing helps to pay salaries and bills; helps to support the leaders, members and ministries of the church, the community outreach programs, and those outside the church who are less fortunate than we are (Gal. 6:6-10; Eph. 4:28; 3 John 5-8). For God, tithing was not about a percentage. Tithing had to do with one's heart. Many believers today give their tenth and never even consider that they could (and perhaps should) be giving even more. In the New Testament, set amounts of compulsory giving (as in the tithe) have been replaced by the grace principle of voluntary, purposeful, and proportionate giving. Although we are no longer obligated to the tithe of the Old Testament, we are still obligated to give not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Under the grace of the New Testament, God has not only freed us from the power of the Law, but He has freed us unto greater giving. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income (1 Corinthians 16:2). Increased prosperity should not constantly result in a higher standard of living, nor should it denigrate into wasteful spending, but an increased income should result in increased giving, not only in the amount but the percent as well. We are no longer obligated to the tithe, but we are free to give more and we are free to give from the heart! Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give (2 Corinthians 9:7). The whole point of giving is that we realize all that we ve been given and if we have a heart for God, it will reflect in our giving. Although, Bethlehem stresses the importance of tithing in supporting the furtherance of the kingdom of God, we understand that everyone is not able to do so; and it is the willingness to give that God blesses. 22

5 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corinthians 8:12). Read Luke 21:1-4 The woman gave two copper coins; a fraction of a penny. However, God viewed her trivial amount with more regard than the larger offerings of the rich. Why? The woman showed her utter devotion to God by giving all she had. Giving is not about duty; it is about devotion. She was willing to offer everything she possessed to show how much she loved God. The Spirit of Giving From the heart: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give (2 Cor. 9:7). In faith: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8). Purposefully: Let each one do just as he has purposed (2 Cor. 9:7). Regularly: On the first day of every week (1 Cor. 16:2). Personally: Let each one of you (1 Cor. 16:2). Systematically: Put aside and save (1 Cor. 16:2). Proportionately: As He may prosper (1 Cor. 16:2), they gave of their own accord (2 Cor. 8:3), it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality (2 Cor. 8:12-13), and let each one do not under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:7). Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38)." 23

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