Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

01/18/15 Sermon - The 5-T's of Stewardship

“The 5-T’s of Stewardship”

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

 

Today’s message is that dreaded message on stewardship.

If you have been in church for any length of time, you know the one I am talking about. The stewardship message comes around about the same time the budget comes around and generally has to do with the need for more money, so the church can balance their budget and things can continue as planned.

 

Well, if you are expecting that sort of message, you will be disappointed. I think of stewardship differently. I like how Hudson Taylor, a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) (now OMF International), who spent 51 years in China, put it. He said, “God’s plans never lack God’s supply.” Today’s message is not going to focus on your financial giving, or the financial need of this church, which by the way, in my estimation, they are both doing fine. NO, today’s stewardship message is going to focus on what was read in today’s Scripture, in 1 Corinthians 4:1, and what it means to be a “servant of Christ” and someone who has been “entrusted with the secret things of God”.

In the New American Standard it reads, “stewards of the mysteries of Christ”.

 

What does “stewardship” mean?

 

Originally, the word “stewardship” meant “a house manager”, one who manages for another.

 

As Christians, we are called to manage the things God has given us, here on earth, for God, while we are on earth.

 

Now before I continue, I want to be very clear. This message pertains directly to those who have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and have also claimed Jesus as Lord of their life. So if you have done both of those things, this message is geared directly towards you.

 

For those of you have not claimed Jesus as Lord and particularly not Lord of your life, I would first,

encourage you to do so,

and second,

 

this message may be of particular interest to you, because it will give you insight on what is expected of you when you do, and with this information you will be able to make an informed decision with your eyes wide open as to what Christians are supposed to do.

 

Today, I am going to go over the 5 areas, we as Christians are called to be faithful in our stewardship, or in our management over what God has given us.

 

It may help if you turn your bulletin over and write them down in the space provided so you can ponder over them this week.

 

They have conveniently been planned out to begin with the letter “T”.

 

They are:

 

Time

Talent

Testimony

Treasure

Temple

 

This list does a good job at covering the things we, as stewards, should be concerned with. You see, in actuality, as it is written in Psalm 24:1

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

 

So if you think about it. There is nothing on this earth, or in our world that God doesn’t already own.

We don’t actually “own” anything.

We are just called to manage things while we are here on earth. It is a fact, that you have nothing when you come into the world, and you take nothing out when you leave. And for the as many years as we are given to live here, on an average of 70-80, we are asked by God, to manage the

 

Time

Talents

Testimony

Treasure

Temple

 

He has lent us while we are here.

 

 

I’d also like to make it clear that just as each of us have been created as unique individuals, each of us will have our own unique “amount” of time, talents, testimony, treasure and temple to manage. That being said, I want you to be concentrating on what God is calling “you” to do. Don’t look at your neighbor and compare, instead, look up and talk with God.

 

Let’s look at the first “T” - TIME

 

It may look like each of us has the same amount of this, because there are exactly 168 hours in a week, for everyone sitting here. However, if we look at the amount of time each of us has, based on where we are in live and how many children we have, whether we are retired, God knows what is going on, He asks us to be good stewards of our time, in every phase of life. Let’s do some math here, and get a rough idea of what stewardship of time should look like.

Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, or approximately 50 hours a week. This leaves us 118 hours a week to work, eat, exercise, relax, all of which take a percentage.

 

The real question here, is what percentage of those 118 hours are spent

for God,

with God,

thinking about God

or working for God?

In reality, that percentage is going to be different for each person here. It is also going to be different for each individual depending on what phase of live you currently exist.

 

I have found that as I go through different phases in my life, I have given to God different amounts. I can assure you, that when I was single and without children, there was more time devoted to God.

 

And although the percentage may change, keeping in mind, all the time in our week, all 168 hours, belongs to God, because He could take any one of us any time, and there would be no more time on earth for us, God seeks our quality, not just our quantity. As our Father, what He really wants is to spend time with you.

He wants you to talk with Him, share with Him your dreams, and your sorrows. More than anything, God desires to spend time deepening His relationship with us. I encourage you to consciously decide to spend more time with God than you do today. God also wants us to use our time to serve Him as well. This is where the next “T” comes in.

 

The second “T” is – TALENTS

 

We have been discussing our talents and gifts and how God has given each of us spiritual gifts to be used for His glory.

 

Last week you were given 4 sets of verses describing this, so I won’t elaborate on this subject, except to read from one of the verses that states, in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

 

The third “T” is – TESTIMONY

 

Each of us, who has chosen Christ to be LORD of our life, has a testimony, a personal story, that we own, which is our encounter with God, that we can share. No one can take this away from us, or claim it is false.

It is our way of testifying that we are a child of the one true King. The amazing thing about our personal testimony is that God uses it to bring others to a believing faith in Him. Paul writes to Timothy, in his second letter, chapter 1, beginning in verse 6, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about the Lord…” We are given a spirit of power!

 

There is power in God’s Word and the best part is that when God is in it, it doesn’t matter the size of the testimony, it can be the size of a mustard seed, with God, there is power. All we are asked is to share “our” testimony. We don’t have to know any more or less. It isn’t about how much of the Bible we know, or how theological we are, our testimony is simply what we know about God and why we have chosen to be his child.

Our testimony will grow as we grow in the Lord. God expects us to be a good steward of His story through us.

 

 

 

The fourth “T” is – TREASURE

 

Okay, you have been waiting for me to get to the money part, haven’t you? Yes, God does expect you to be good stewards of the money he has entrusted you with. God expects us to give to the place that we call church, that is the place that we have chosen to connect ourselves to for spiritual growth, support, and fellowship. Without your financial support, that place where your spiritual side is fed, will not be able to exist.  Again, the amount of money you give, is between you and God. Remember, God owns everything, and you are being asked to manage it while you are on earth.

Matthew 6:19-21 says it best, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I would also like to take the time to discuss the difference between a tithe and an offering. A tithe is the amount of you pledge to give to God, on a regular basis.

 

Your offering is what you give above and beyond that tithe. As I discuss these 5 “T’s” of stewardship. You should be thinking about your “tithe” for each of them. How much of each “T” are you going to give to God on a regular basis? And then there may be times when you give more and this would be an offering. A time when you offer more time, more money, more of your talent.

 

The fifth “T” is – TEMPLE

 

1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

 

As Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit is living in us. We have asked Jesus into our hearts and Jesus said to his disciples, just before He was taken up into the heaven, in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

How is it going with taking care of the temple of God? Christ is you, the hope of glory! We should be treating our bodies like we treat any place God lives, because as Christians, that is exactly where God resides, in us. Take some time to inspect your temple. Are there things you do, things you see, things you taste, things you hear that you wouldn’t were God in the room?

 

If you think back to the Scripture Danny read today in 1 Corinthians, verse 2, it reads “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” The “trust” in this case is your time, your talents, your testimony, your treasure and your temple. This verse can be reread by replacing the word “trust” for any of the five “T’s”.

For example, “Now it is required that those who have been given time must prove faithful.” Paul continues to write in verse 4, “It is the Lord who judges me.” You see, the Lord is judging your heart. He is not only looking at your stewardship, He is looking at how you are being a steward. You can be volunteering at the church, which looks good on the outside, but if your heart is somewhere else, what good is it? And it is God who knows our hearts.

It is my desire, that each of us, learn how to be the best manager, or best steward, of our time, talents, testimony, treasure and temple, which God has entrusted us, so that when we meet Him face to face, we will hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

Let’s pray.