The Church Worker and his/her Stewardship Life Part I. What is Stewardship? “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (I Peter 4:10) Introduction: A Timely Theme!! A. Something is wrong in our church-life B. Some interested and careful observers of church-life tell us that we must study and practice stewardship if conditions in our Church are to improve!! -- Are these critics right? I. What is this Stewardship? A. Naturally, the meaning of the word must first be brought out B. Contrary to what one might think, the state of being a steward is not necessarily menial or degrading C.In a particular sense, stewardship is a term which defines mankind’s relationship to his God D. Viewing ourselves from this angle -- 1. We realize – a) That we are not “the captain of our souls” b) Nor “the master of our fate” 2. And that stewardship is – -- Sanctification II. Where Is the Proof That God Expects Us and in Fact Requires Us To Fulfill the Role of a Steward and That Our Stewardship is an Act of Sanctification? A. The Bible states it in various ways B. We belong to the Lord in a much fuller sense than did the slaves to their masters in by-gone days C. Stewardship is the Law III. We Can Also View God’s Direction for Us in Regards to Stewardship from Two Other Angles as Well A. We are stewards by virtue of creation B. We are stewards by virtue of our redemption IV. Our Own Experiences Also Confirm The Biblical Statements A. We have the Law written in our hearts B. All of this also applies even to the ungodly V. Let Us Then Go On – To Dwell Briefly on the Duties of Our Stewardship A. In a general way B. In a detailed way C. Our stewardship should not be a haphazard thing -- But a regular, systematic exercise D. If you find exercising our stewardship to be a difficult, burdensome, tiring -- We might remember . . . Conclusion: We Are Good Stewards 1. Not in order to win a reward 2. But in gratitude for the abundant mercies daily bestowed upon us by the God of our salvation Part II. Faithfulness in Stewardship “Moreover, it is required of stewards that a many be found faithful (trustworthy)!!” (I Corinthians 4:2) Introduction: Stewardship Is One of the Terms Which Defines Our Relationship to God 1) It Shows Us to Be Servants of God 2) It Stamps All of Our Talents and Possessions with the Mark of Divine Ownership 3) It Governs our Lives and Regulates All that We Think, Say, and Do 4) It Is the Life of Sanctification A. Every human being should know that he/she is a steward under God -1. By Creation 2. Also by Redemption B. Every Steward Must be Taught to Realize -1. That His/Her Standing Puts Certain Obligations upon Him/Her 2. That the Prime Factor of Efficiency in Christian Stewardship Is – “Faithfulness!!” I. We Shall First Define the Term – “Faithfulness.” A. In general, faithfulness is a character element B. Faithfulness is a quality sought in persons holding certain positions C. Faithfulness may be and is applied to certain activities D. Faithfulness includes – Sincerity, honesty, application, diligence, thoroughness, selfforgetfulness, readiness to make sacrifices E. Faithfulness – Is a high virtue in any walk of life!! II. How Does This Fit In With Christian Stewardship? A. Faithfulness in a Christian steward . . . is first of all the inward attitude B. Those Christian Stewards Who Are Faithful . . . 1. Are happy and feel highly honored 2. Are also determined to live up to their duties as long as life may last III. The Conduct of Those Who Are Faithful in Their Stewardship Includes Various Factors and Phases A. A Christian steward – 1. Walks humbly in the sight of God and man 2. Gives God all credit and praise 3. Confesses God’s name and salvation before men B. A good steward of the Lord is a diligent worker in the kingdom of God, keeping first things first in his/her life C. Faithful stewards persevere -1. When others tire and leave them to labor alone 2. When ingratitude seems to be their reward 3. When their own ‘Old Adam’ protests their attempts at carrying out faithful stewardship D. Faithful stewards seek not their own glory, but that of their divine Lord IV. Is Too Much Being Expected of Us in These Teachings on Christian Stewardship? A. There are always some who fear that their time, strength, financial capacities, will be overtaxed B. A faithful Christian steward will not be able to follow the example of the children of this world C. But what if we should like to do better and cannot, because of certain limitations beyond our control? D. Whenever we become conscious of our failures to practice good stewardship – Let us in true penitence of heart turn to Him who came to fulfill all righteousness Conclusion: For Inspiration and Stimulation of Our Stewardship Life . . . Let Us Turn to the Cross of Jesus Christ Part III. The Joy of Christian Stewardship “Serve the Lord with gladness!! Come into his presence with singing!!” (Psalm 100:2) There should be joy in our stewardship . . . There is joy in Christian stewardship!! I. “Serve the Lord with gladness.” This Shows That There Should Be Joy in Our Stewardship!! A. What does this mean and imply? B. Why should our serving and giving be gladly done? C. All this will lead to the realization that much of our life has been fruitless and futile – When we have left gladness out of our stewardship!! II. Not Only Should There Be Joy in Our Stewardship – But True Christian Stewardship Actually Causes Gladness and Is Really Enjoyable A. Let us once more emphasize that we are discussing only that kind of stewardship which deserves the label “Christian” B. In such stewardship there is really joy C. There is the satisfaction of knowing oneself to be engaged in the great and glorious undertaking – the support and extension of God’s kingdom D. There is also the stimulating consciousness of knowing that as a Christian steward – one is doing good things E. Best of all, there are the great and gracious rewards of faithful Christian stewardship promised by God Himself III. To Cultivate Such Stewardship and Find the Joy That Is in It A. Let us then – 1. Often remind ourselves of our own unworthiness 2. Daily cast our eyes upon the cross on which the Good Steward of our salvation gave His life for us 3. Realize how richly we have been blessed as children of God 4. And often think of the glorious heritage awaiting us in heaven B. Then we shall -1. Not wait until we are called on for services or gifts – we shall volunteer 2. Be about our Father’s business – a) Really give as the Lord has prospered us b) Continue to be faithful -1) Even when sacrifices are required of us 2) When others become shirkers 3) And when no rewards are in sight. Conclusion: When All the Pleasures and Joys of This life Have Been Weighed in the Balance -- It Will Be Found that the Joy of Christian Stewardship . . . Outweighs Them All!!