Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life is a Stewardship!

When I served as a pastor, most of my preaching plans included series of messages. I looked forward to sharing an Easter series, and I always looked forward to our Advent services. In the fall I always led the congregations I served in a stewardship emphasis. Normally I shared my stewardship series in October or November. Sometimes it coincided with the adoption of our ministry plans and budget for the coming church year. I am serving as an interim pastor this year, and I am preparing to begin another series of stewardship messages this Sunday on The Giving Life.

I have always enjoyed preaching on the great theme of Christian stewardship. I guess I learned this from my father. He also led the churches he served in annual stewardship emphases. I know there are pastors who do not enjoy preaching on stewardship themes, and I also know there are church members who sometimes discourage their pastors from preaching on Christian stewardship. I believe it is sad when this happens. Christian stewardship is at the heart of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. All of life is a stewardship.

It is important to help every believer remember all we are and have is a gift from God. We are responsible to God for how we use everything we possess. While this includes our financial gifts to support the ministries of our churches, it also means much more. I have often encouraged Christians to consider growing beyond the Old Testament principle of giving a tithe of our possessions. If we have been greatly blessed we should learn to give in greater ways. Bettie Jo and I began many years ago seeking to increase our gifts to Kingdom causes on a percentage basis beyond a basic tithe of our income. We have not been able to increase our giving every year, but many years we have been able to make a small percentage increase in our giving. Over the years we have been able to give more than we ever believed we could.

As important as our gifts are, Christian stewardship involves much more than our financial gifts. God is concerned about how we use all our financial resources, not just the amount we give. Are we responsible for how we manage and use all our income? Do we pay our bills on time? Do we spend wisely? Do we prepare for the future appropriately?

God also has a plan for our lives. How we use our time, our talents and our gifts is just as important as how we use our money. Maybe we have no more valuable resource than our time. It represents our lives. Are we making our lives available for Kingdom service? Is God pleased with how we spend our time and our energy? Have we talked with God about his priorities? As a disciple of Jesus Christ we acknowledge all of life is a gift from God. We are responsible for how we use this precious gift. Life is a stewardship! I encourage you to be faithful in your stewardship.

This article was written for this week's Word&Way issue.

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