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We Are Stewards Who Know the Owner

Categories: Blog,From The Pastor

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Stewardship is a comprehensive word; we understand that all that we are and have is a gift of God to be used for His glory.  When Jesus Christ calls us to “Follow” Him, we are to leave everything else behind and love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  God has redeemed us, and wants the blessing and process of sanctification to touch every area of our lives.  The Bible says,

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NIV).

Stewards are entrusted by the owner with certain resources and have a responsibility to use and invest those things wisely and well.  The wonderful thing for believers is that we know the Owner!  We have a personal relationship with God, having been saved by Him and adopted by the act of His free grace and now enjoying all the rights and privileges of being His.  What we do with the money or time that God had given us is an opportunity to grow in our love and faith as we obey His revealed will and pray for wisdom.  All of life is lived Coram Deo—before the face of God, and when we think and talk about stewardship we do so with a heart that knows (experientially) the Gospel, the Grace of God in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  That is to say, the One who has entrusted us with everything we have is not some impersonal, distant deity that we can easily dismiss.   Rather, He is our loving, gracious, Holy Heavenly Father who lays before us His Word as the rule of our faith and life.

Do you know God?  Is your knowledge of God growing, do you know God better this year than last?  I do not mean your knowledge about God!  (I heartily commend as extraordinarily helpful J. I. Packer’s classic, Knowing God to explore this distinction further.)  Our minds are so very important and we need to fill them with Truth, but our hearts are important, too!  We must believe rightly before we can behave rightly, but as someone has said, the hardest distance to span is the eighteen inches between our heads and hearts.  The reading and preaching of God’s Word is vital, but so is prayer and meditation.  If we are growing, there should be evidence of progress, fruit in our lives. The apostle Peter ends his second letter with this exhortation:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pt. 3:18 NIV).

When we know the Owner, our priorities and even desires change.  We are more excited about the things of God and more cautious about the temptation to selfishness.  We look for ways to serve and sacrifice because we’re giving to God and not merely to man.  Paul’s instruction to the Church in Colosse makes sense to us as God’s people:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23-24 NIV).  And because we know the Lord, we trust Him.  This faith impacts how we live since now we live according to His Word instead of our own or the world’s wisdom.  As one writer has truly observed

Christian obedience means complete obedience and not only in those things where we happen to agree with God.  Christian faith means trusting God, even when our own views seem to suggest the contrary.”  (D. B. Knox, Not by Bread Alone: God’s Word of Present Issues, 57.)

We are blessed to know the Owner!  Let’s give thanks for all He has given us and look for opportunities to give ourselves and our stuff for His glory.  We won’t measure success just like the world might, and we’ll take the eternal perspective on yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Here are two examples of believers who have done just that for your encouragement.

Baylor University is a thriving institution in Beaumont, Texas.  The Christian who gave the money for building that school later lost all his property.  Men of the world asked him, ‘Don’t you wish you had the money back that you put into that school?’  He replied, ‘Not at all.  It is all that I have saved.  If I had kept that money, I would have lost it, too.  I am thankful that I gave that building when I did.’  The world may judge us by what we do with the property God has placed in our keeping.  Nevertheless, we should only be concerned with God’s estimation of our stewardship of His gifts.  (Illustrations of Bible Truths, compiled by Ruth Peters, Book One, 247.)

The life of C. T. Shedd is the story of a life given in service to the Lord.  He came from a family with significant wealth and attended Cambridge.  He gained renown in England for his great skill at cricket, but gained eternal rewards as he and six others (the Cambridge Seven) offered themselves to God in missionary service in China under Hudson Taylor.  Perhaps you are familiar with a couple of lines from a poem he wrote?  Here it is in its entirety (below), please think on these things.

-Pastor David

 

Only One Life

By C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,

Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart,

And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Only one life, yes only one,

Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,

And stand before His Judgement seat;

Only one life,’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Only one life, the still small voice,

Gently pleads for a better choice

Bidding me selfish aims to leave,

And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Only one life, a few brief years,

Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;

Each with its clays I must fulfill,

living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,

When Satan would a victory score;

When self would seek to have its way,

Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Give me Father, a purpose deep,

In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what e’er the strife,

Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Oh let my love with fervor burn,

And from the world now let me turn;

Living for Thee, and Thee alone,

Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

Only one life, yes only one,

Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;

And when at last I’ll hear the call,

I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;

Only one life,’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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