When we professed our faith in God and in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we made known our desire to live life as his disciple. When we joined the United Methodist Church we covenanted together with God and the members of the church to keep our vows to faithfully participate in the ministry of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. This servanthood is performed in our daily life, our work places, in our play and in our social activities. As members of God’s Kingdom each of us is called upon to be a witness for Christ, to be his light in this world. To do this we are called to be a steward of all God has given us. Christian stewardship is the faithful management of his bounty as it relates to our time, skills, talents, abilities and financial resources. God through us uses all these to transform human lives, to help those who are hurting and to reach out to those in need. In 2 Corinthians 9:11 we find these words of the Apostle Paul; You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Generosity of our time in service to others, generosity in spirit as we accept others in love and grace and generosity in the material support of God’s Kingdom and our mission to make disciples keeps our focus on God and not our own self. Jesus summed up the spiritual connection this way in Luke 12:34; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Stewardship is such a fundamental part of our relationship with God that we truly do need to evaluate where our treasure lies. Does our treasure lie with him or does it, through the evidence of our lives, lie elsewhere? The questions we need to ask ourselves are: • In what way am I spending most of my free time? Is it watching television or playing computer games, or am I involved with others and doing those things which further God’s Kingdom? • If someone were to audit my checkbook what would they find out about my priorities? Where does my treasure lie and therefore, where truly does my heart lie? Paul told us the Corinthians gave as they prospered. As God has blessed us we also are to give. I am not asking you to pay “dues” to the church nor am I trying to set a dollar figure, but I would ask each and every one to examine your heart. We need to concentrate on the blessings of the giving of ourselves, our treasure and of God’s call in our lives. The giving of ourselves and our tithes is the only thing mentioned in the Scripture that God will test us on. Malachi 3:10 challenges us to try to out give God; Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, put it this way; We need to give the first part of our day in meditation to God. We need to give the first part of our week in worship of God. We need to give the first part of our income to God. We need to give the first part of our social life to fellowship with other Christians. Each of these four kinds of giving keeps our mental compass focused in God’s direction. Remove any one of them and spiritual growth slows. During this month of Thanksgiving, where we express our gratitude to God for all he has done in our lives, we each need to examine where are hearts truly are and what treasures we are storing up. Are we storing up treasures in heaven or on earth? Spiritual stewardship is the giving of ourselves for the transformation of human lives, the helping of those who are hurting and the reaching out to those in need. This is what God is calling us to do! In closing, I ask you to consider these words of Albert Pine, What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
In God’s Grace and Glory, Pastor Earl