February 16, 2011
2 Peter 1:2-4 NASB
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
This passage clearly tells us that God has entrusted to us everything we need, everything pertaining to life and godliness! God has not short-changed you on any aspect of your life, but you may not be realizing that! In Ephesians, chapter one, it says we have been given every heavenly blessing. Think of it…we’ve got every one of them available to us.
This reminds me of the guy out in west Texas during the 1930s during great depression. Of course he was a farmer/rancher. During that time there had been a multi-year drought and all of that region was called the dust bowl. They couldn’t grow any crops and they were broke. Just a few years later the oil companies came out there and leased their land. As a result, they found oil and those same destitute farmers were now filthy rich! You know they had all those resources available to them all during that dust bowl time, when they were so broke, but they just didn’t know it! You know, you have so many resources available to you, but you may not realize it. God has made them all available to you! All you have to do is take advantage of them.
This passage clearly states that the marshaling of these resources comes through these precious and magnificent promises. Let me ask you a question. Do you know what these promises are? Have you taken the time to research them? God has promised you that He would be with you. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. He’s promised that He will supply all that you need to accomplish what is on His heart. He’s promised that He will give you success, prosperity in accomplishing what He wants. Let me ask you a question. Have you really got a grasp on what God wants you to accomplish?
That’s really what stewardship is all about. It’s not just about going through a budget or figuring out what you are going to give. It’s about understanding the big picture, of what God wants you to accomplish and marshaling all your resources to accomplish that!
February 12, 2011
To really answer the question, “Does God want me to be financially successful?”, we must look at a much bigger question than just our finances. In Joshua 1:8 it says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Yes, I think we can emphatically say, “God wants us to be successful.” He promises that we will have success in accomplishing what He wants us to do, if we’ll take His word and put it into action. The problem is that often we don’t have his motivation, His interests in mind and we are off doing our own thing. If we focus on what God is trying to accomplish we can have success. Generally speaking God is trying to reconcile the world to Himself. He is seeking to reach this world with the gospel message. There are many scripture references concerning this. One, which is very clear, is Matthew 28:18-20. Paraphrased it says that we are to be reaching out for God all throughout this world. I think it is foolish for us to think that God would give us a command and not expect us to be successful in accomplishing it. Why would He do that?
I’m a multiple business owner and I have guys who are managers of those businesses. I commission them to do certain things. You know, I expect them to be successful. I think it is just ludicrous to think that God would give us a commission like that and not expect us to be successful with it. I think, “Yes, God wants us to be successful.” God will empower us to do whatever He has asked us to do. He will provide us all the resources we need, but there is a learning curve involved. In my businesses, not all my managers are completely equipped. They are learning and growing in their effectiveness. That’s really what’s happening in our lives. God is teaching us little-by-little how to be successful. So, the question is, ”Are you involved in reaching this world for Christ?” When you think about reaching this world for Christ, there are about six billion people. Over in Asia well over a billion people have never heard the gospel. Now I believe God intends the gospel to go out throughout the whole world in every generation, yet we are not doing it! If that’s going to happen, we’ve got to be thinking about a much bigger picture that just our little family, our neighborhood or our city. We’ve got to be thinking in a much more global sense. Now let me ask you two questions, “How expensive is that going to be? How expensive is it going to be to get the gospel to a billion people in Asia? My friends, it is going to be VERY expensive. So if you are going to be involved in that in any practical sense of the word, I believe God would want you to be financially successful! So think of your money as not just money for you to have a wonderful life, or to splurge, or to go on a magical vacation, or something else. Think of it as a tool in order to empower you to accomplish what God wants you to accomplish on the earth. I believe that’s really the essence of stewardship. So, my questions to you today are, “What is God trying to accomplish in and through your life? What will it cost you to do that and how will you get those funds for it?
February 8, 2011
Stewardship is about taking care of God’s business. In Matthew chapter 16 Jesus told His disciples that he was going to be killed, to suffer and be the payment for the sins of all mankind. Peter actually rejected that idea. Reacting to Peter, Christ rebuked him stating that Peter was not setting his interest on God’s interests.
God has a vision. God has a plan for what He wants to accomplish. In many cases we like Peter do not have God’s vision or purpose in mind.
In John chapter 9 verse 4 Jesus tell us that we must work the works of Him who sent us as long as it is day. Night is coming when no man can work. So realizing we have a limited amount of time and a huge task before us, we must marshal our resources to make them available for what Christ is trying to accomplish in and through our lives here on earth.
Well, what is God’s business? Really, God is in the people business. Obviously the most valuable possession God has is Christ. He has traded His most valuable possession for you and me and all mankind down through the ages. So we can see that the reaching of the world for Christ and the reconciliation of the world to God is really God’s business. That’s what God is all about.
He’s actually taken it one step further. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all the nations. To baptize them and teach them to practice all the things He has taught us. He promised that He would always be with us, would empower us and provide all the resources we need to do that. Think of stewardship as not merely coming up with a budget or giving, but understanding what God wants to accomplish through your life and marshaling your resources in order to accomplish it.
February 4, 2011
I am asked a lot of questions about finances and many of the questions involve stewardship. Most people think about budgeting and giving when they hear the word stewardship. In scripture stewardship is a much broader subject. The word stewardship is from a compound Greek word. The first syllable is house and the second is law. So you put those two together and you get a guy who is a ruler of a household. He has some responsibilities but it’s not his household. Typically he was appointed by the patriarch of the family to manage his affairs. When you consider stewardship this way, you realize that you are a steward of the Lord. All the stuff we have is really God’s and we are merely the ones administering that stewardship. We forget it’s not our stuff. We hold on to it and grasp it, but we have no right to do that. We manage our resources for the Lord’s purposes.
There are many examples of stewards in the Bible. Probably one you haven’t considered is the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a steward of God’s mysteries. When He was twelve years old as recorded in Luke chapter two, He spent some time in the temple. His parents did not know where He was. When they finally found Him after three days in the temple, He asked them, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” Like Christ being about our Father’s business should be our highest priority!
In a broader sense there are many things about stewardship that we don’t normally consider. I want you to be thinking about how you can take dominion of your life and accomplish what God lays on your heart. This idea of dominion has been around a long time. Even from Genesis chapter one, God told Adam and Eve that they should go and multiply, subdue the earth and have dominion over it. God wants you to take dominion over your life and rule over it, so that all that you have would be available to Him to use as He directs you. So my question to you is, “What resources do you have and what does God want you to accomplish with those resources?” So, that takes it out of the realm of generic budgeting or giving. It puts stewardship in the light of finding out specifically about what God wants you to accomplish through your life. Stewardship is about making your financial resources available for God’s special purpose.