Stewardship: Don’t Neglect the Gifts Given to You


I spent last Monday talking to you on Festival about stewardship, and because I’m not sitting there quoting chapter and verse, there can be a lot of times where people say, “Okay, that sounds great, except, you know, back it up.” Don’t I always try and do that? Because that’s been my goal here is to back up the things, so that people can say, “This is in the book.” And we’re not book worshippers but we are looking to the word for guidance, so that should be our marker right there. “Stewardship” implies interest entrusted, ownership, not our ownership; in other words if you’re a steward it, it simply means somebody else owns the stuff; you’re just in trust for a time, that’s all. If we spent our whole life looking at our life as in, in trust, it would probably change a lot of the dynamics of how we view time versus eternity. Stewardship implies responsibility, and that’s a big word because most people don’t want to be responsible. Now I’m, listen, if the shoe fits wear it. I’m never one to mince words and I’ve always said the message always has to pass through me first. I’ve, I’ve got to digest it first for myself, I take it to myself first. Why? Because even the preacher, no one’s immune, okay. There isn’t somebody who stands above you and says, “I’ve arrived!” It’s for each individual to take responsibility and no man or woman can say, “Well,” I’m, in essence, I’m responsible for all you do. I’m responsible, and I’ll point this out in my message, I’m going to talk a little bit about me as well. I’m responsible for a few things concerning the church and you, but not in the sense that many would like it to be completely on my back. So “responsibility” is a big word, the other one is “accountability,” two words that most people hate. Come on, accountability; it means that at some point in time you’re going to have to say, “This is what I’ve done.” Now biblically it says we will all stand and give account. I don’t really know if somebody really took those words and believed them out of the book what impact that would make on the individual’s life. I know for me it’s made a huge impact, it, it━there’s a side of me that says so grateful for the Lord finding me, and pulling me out of the cesspool of, ultimately where I would have ended up; thank God for that. But then with the accountability factor, I’m looking at you, only what I can see, or what I cannot see I can’t claim accountability for. My responsibility is also to be accountable for the things I do here. Part of that which God has entrusted me with is to not be slack and say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Last but not least in the bullet points of stewardship something that’s so often left out, which is the principle of reward. Now every charlatan who is on TV will tell you about some type of way that God is an investment scheme like He’s a Ponzi thing that you can put into, “And yeah, and you’ll get back out,” and they━you know, I’ve told you I’ve labeled this Scripture “the martini Scripture.” You know, it’s over flowing, it’s running everywhere, you’d better catch it, or I don’t know; whatever you have to do with it. But that’s not the principle of reward that God speaks about through His word. There are many, many occasions specifically out of our Lord’s mouth where He talks about reward, speaking of these things and He says your heavenly Father will, essentially, be the one to reward. And I don’t know, there’s a big discrepancy of whether it’s open or in secret; I don’t really care. The Dispenser of the reward is no human being but God Himself, who sees every act, and this is why it says, “We shall all give account.” Now if you’re listening to me today and that’s sounds a little scary because you know you’ve been handling your life, I use the term very carefully “your” life, kind of sloppily, don’t worry. The wonderful thing is from the day that you hear God’s word, God, I believe, gives the grace to those people who basically can say, “I didn’t know.” There’s, there’s this great wonderful thing called ignorance, “I sure didn’t know that I was counted in that group of people who is responsible or have to give an account, I sure didn’t know that.” And this is why, I’m sorry, there are a lot of folks out there who will say, “I don’t need the church, the church is only interested in my money.” Well, I hate to tell you, God’s interested in your money and your time, why? Because He said it all belongs to Him. There’s no place in this book where it says, “you and yours.” If you say, “Lord, I am yours,” which says, “Lord, please take me to heaven; please take me into Your eternal arms and into eternity. But while I’m here let me be the boss of what I want to do and how I want to do it, and let me be in my own thing, because I know what I’m doing.” Okay, stewardship, first let me start with the etymology and the history of the word, “Position of responsibility” from the mid-15th century, “ecclesiastical meaning ‘responsibility, the use of resources’ in the service of God.” As an Old English word that looks kind of like this, either stiward or stigweard, stigweard, as an old English word. And it’s meaning, it’s kind of interesting, it’s meaning, we’ll splice that just right there for a minute, is “house guardian, house keeper,” from stig which means “hall or pen for cattle.” And if you trace this word back to its root, which looks like this, then you’re all familiar with what the “pig pen” means, right: pen for pig. And this word weard, which actually if you trace it back into the Proto-Indo-European, wear and that is “perceive” or “to watch out for,” But in terms of stewardship there are several categories in the Bible, so don’t just think “money” right now, okay, we’ll talk about that, but we’re going to talk about━let’s take a new page. We’re going to going to talk about first and foremost, first and foremost stewardship that is “the stewardship of life,” and I’m going to put “time.” That’s the first one. Probably I use this and put this first for a reason. The Bible says, “We are to redeem the time,” Ephesians 5:16, speaking about the days because they are evil, and that doesn’t mean that every day is a bad day. It certainly just means that in the times that we live in, from the time Paul wrote that to the time of now. Who is it that controls the world? Who is it who is, or what is it that is under control of something other than the Spirit, which is called the flesh. So when we talk about life and time, I digress again back to Psalm 24 to say if the earth is the Lord’s and all that dwell therein, and He made it, then the very essence of having breath in our lungs, the very gift of life, the ability to reproduce, or the ability to have our being and by the way be awakened to Him, by Him, to Him. There becomes this idea or this notion that, “Well, I’m free to do whatever I want!” And that may be true if you don’t acknowledge that somebody else has bought and paid for you. I know these are concepts you’ve heard a thousand times and they’re so unpopular and nobody wants to hear them. Let me go back to the Old Testament for a minute, and if you would like to turn with me because I’m going to do a lot of reading so we can look at these and you can make notes. The Psalmist, Psalm 90, and this Psalm, by the way, says “A Prayer of Moses the man of God,” who could certainly make this verse come true. Verse 12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom,” or “cause to come; our hearts to come to wisdom.” That’s quite suggestive right there, but don’t think that’s an isolated Scripture: “Teach us to number our days, so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” In other words, let’s just from Moses’ perspective, had Moses had the knowledge that that act of striking the rock rather than speaking to it would cause his days to be numbered as they were, and perhaps not as extended as he might have perceived, being the one in his mind to lead the people into the land and God said, “No, I’ll only let you look at it, but you’re not going to enter in.” Maybe if God would have taught him differently, and I say that only because God is the one who gives us the lessons of the heart, I don’t know how else to express this, “Teach us to number our days,” don’t be cavalier with the time that God’s given you. Now some people say in this day and age we’re living longer because of medicine, and we’re living better lives. Well, we may be living longer because of medicine, but I don’t think we’re living better lives. And I say that strictly because there’s less and less attention given to who is the Owner of the life, who gives the breath in the lungs, who basically says, “Enough,” when your time is up; failure to acknowledge, by the way, could be, we could say because people don’t want to acknowledge, but also failure to grasp this concept, to be aware that it doesn’t mean just because a man or a woman reaches the age of seventy, eighty, ninety, or a hundred that at that point we should start looking at our days and being cautious, but all the days of our life. It doesn’t mean live your life in some fear and trembling, because we’ve come to know that through Christ we have eternal life. So like Moses here, but there’s another psalm that kind of says a similar thing which is Psalm 39, so you can see that these are not isolated, you know, how do you make doctrine? You let the Scripture confirm itself. Psalm 39, verses 4 and 5, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth; mine age is as nothing before thee; verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Now I want to ask you something, does it offend you, or should it offend me that we’re not in control of this particular dimension of our life? Not whatsoever. Because I just said a big word “our life”” but the reality is it’s His, He controls, if He created. If you’re in denial about the creation, then I’m probably not talking to you. Now what does that mean? Does that mean that you have to live in some cloister somewhere, where all you do is, you know, you’re, you buy alphabet cereal and you spell out Bible verses with the alphabet cereal and you count numbers in noodles all day long, all in the name of Jesus? No. Paul wrote to Timothy in the New Testament, and I told you we’re going to move around if you, if you don’t want to move around and turn with me that’s fine, just make a note of the Scripture. You can look at it later, but I like taking you to these passages so you can see them for yourself, sometimes seeing with your own eyeballs is quite helpful. 1 Timothy 6, and the second part of verse 17, but I’ll read the whole thing because he’s talking about those who are rich: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches,” but essentially now I pick up here to trust, “but trust in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” So don’t think God’s some killjoy saying, “I don’t want you to have some enjoyment in your life.” And you may say, “Well, that’s taking”━you know, read it in context, but there, there is a principle here which is very clear and that is God gives us all things richly to enjoy, all things are lawful but all things in moderation. Don’t be in excess over here or over here. Now why is this important? Because stewardship in life or time suggests a couple of things, and I’m going to say this not just for those people who live here, they’re here, or people who will listen as some do, they just listen on the internet or they listen on TV. The concept of your life as a stewardship and time is very delicate. You know, you get up in the morning everything’s a rush, and you run out the door to go to work and, or if you have kids you take care of your kids, it’s running, it’s rush, rush, rush, busy, busy, busy, all the day long. Don’t think somehow that because you do all of that that you’re neglecting God. The Scripture says, “Whatever you do, do it all unto the glory of God,” if you’re taking, if you’re a mother or father taking care of children, then do it to the glory of God. That’s, that is, it’s a calling, it’s not a job to take care of your children because you brought them, or adopted them or took them into this world; however you want to say it. God did that part, now you are a steward. See, I’m saying everything becomes attached to this concept, and then there’s time. Now there are people who are, well, they don’t like the word “time” because there’s never enough time. Trust me; I know there’s never enough time. I wish that instead of there being a twenty-four hour day, the day could be thirty-six, or forty; just a little bit more. Who needs that thing called sleep anyway, right! The experts say you need eight to ten hours. My late husband said, “You don’t need sleep! What do you need sleep for?” Well, you do need sleep; you do need rest. But let’s take a look at this word, back to the word “time.” In the New Testament you’ve got two Greek words that explain time, chronos and kairos. I’ve taught on these; and I’m sorry, I did not write in Greek. It’s half Greek, half━that might be better, chronos and kairos. May be misspelled, sorry, it is, because there’s English there too. There we go, whew━started in English, ended up in Greek. Chronos, from where we get our word chronology, which may refer to time elapsed or duration of time, versus kairos, which is the characteristics of time within events unfolded or yet to unfold. It’s a subtle thing to distinguish between the two. So when I say “redeeming the time”” out of Ephesians, “redeeming” kairos, not chronos becomes important. Words are pretty precise in the Greek. He could have said “redeeming the time” chronos. That’s that chronological, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, versus events of the day specifically things that might be or become unfolded or have unfolded, but there’s, there is a difference between the two words. Now for some, time may look like toil, and that’s all it is. Ecclesiastes 3:9, I’ll just read it to you: “What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?” What’s the point of doing all this? And I’m going to say again the point is first and foremost that all things that we’re able to do that God has enabled us, our talents in our ability to earn. Be not like those people in Deuteronomy that had to be addressed, and he said, “Say not within your heart, My hand hath given me this ability, but God had granted this thing unto me to gain wealth and riches.” And somehow that becomes a terrible word for people listening in who don’t understand God is not looking and saying, “Oh, all My children should be flush with cash and overflowing” like the martini Scripture, nor should they be scraping along and barely making it. As I said, there’s moderation in all things, and unfortunately when it comes to this subject, where I’m still talking about time and life, but it applies all the way down to money, people will say, “Well, you see”━the nutty people have swung the pendulum all the way over here and then the people who’d like you to see how pious they are have swung the pendulum over there. Whatever happened to the middle of what God was saying? Because there is a middle ground somewhere. I don’t think God is declaring something and saying, as I said in one of my messages that God desires for you to give everything away. No, God desires, like Abraham, the test of faith was would Abraham give up his beloved Isaac on the altar? Was he willing to commit his way completely and trust the Lord, or was this just lip service? That word, remember I’ve taught on peirasmos, to see what’s in the heart. Why did God do that? To see what was in his heart; would he or wouldn’t he? And I think that is a brilliant lesson for each individual to look at as we, our stewardship, our stewardship responsibility comes into play each and every day. Are we willing to do this thing? And let’s take it a step further: are we willing or do we need to be coerced with smooth words and with great, swelling promises that are nothing but hot wind, okay. So I’ll take you, let’s look at this concept again. Stay in the New Testament with me, to Romans 13, as there’s these wonderful gifts that God has laid down and the subject of stewardship, I think, appears everywhere. I’m in the wrong book; here we go, 13, and let’s take a look at 13, Romans 13:11, starting right there: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” That is essentially we’re talking about life and living, we’re not talking about provision as in we’ll get to money and what’s needed to make it through. There, there is that which says somehow the Lord will make a way, the Lord will take care. That is the concept of stewardship of life and time. There is, or there are other passages, so I’m going to take you and we’re going read a few more and then I’ll move on from this particular sub-header, if you will, to the next one. But I referenced Ephesians, so let’s turn to Ephesians. We’ll do a little bit of backwards and forwards, because we’ll go Ephesians and then we’ll go Galatians. Ephesians 5, beginning at verse 15, that’s where I will start, through verse 17: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time,” kairos, “because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what he will of the Lord is.” So it seems to me that that is a crucial part of life and living, and I’m not here to tell you have how to, the contents of how to fill your day or how to have a more victorious Christian life as some nut, nutty people on TV or elsewhere that write books about this seem to think they’re an expert on your life because they know. No, I’m not an expert on your life, I’m not even an expert on mine, but I do know what the Scripture declares about the stewardship of life and of time. Now remember I started off by saying stewardship says in its essential meaning that there is an Owner above the steward, beyond that which we claim to have as our own; no. There’s an Owner of that time and it’s not me. Galatians 6, go back one book, Galatians 6, verses 9 and 10, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season,” that means in time, but if you’re interested in knowing, it’s kairon: “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season,” in due kairon, not chronos, “we shall reap, if we faint not.” Interestingly enough the word “season” and “opportunity” are the same: “As we have therefore opportunity,” kairon, “let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” So here’s another picture of life and time. If you’re still not sure what I’m saying, the validity of what I’m saying, there’s something that looks very, very much like what is written in Ephesians, but it’s out of Colossians, Colossians 4 is very similar: “Walk in wisdom,” verse 5, “toward them that are without, redeeming the time,” kairos is the word there. “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to an answer to every man.” And I ask you something: how can you know how to answer if you’re not spending any of the time that God gave you learning about what’s in this book? I’m, I have a one-track mind today, so you see there is a stewardship. One last one and I’ll read it to you if you’re getting tired, if your wrists are getting tired of turning the pages, I, I really don’t sympathize with you. But 1 Peter 1:17, I’ll read it to you: “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear,” and that is essentially the same thing that Paul will say elsewhere “working out your salvation with phobias and traumas.” That’s not fear as in cowering. So there’s another type of stewardship that’s pretty important. And I want to say before I leave this, this is not, the goal here of explaining, this is not so that Christians should engage in being busy. That’s not the essence of what I just said. If you think that, you didn’t get anything that I said. It’s the quality of what you do, not the quantity, with your time. And that may simply be making more time to read the Scripture, making more time to pray; but in all things. In whatever you do, you do it unto the Lord, whether you eat or drink; whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God, 1 Corinthians 10:31. Now there’s another type of stewardship. It all falls under the same banner. This is the stewardship of gifts that God has given. Do you remember on the teaching that I taught, the many weeks on the Holy Spirit, I talked about God depositing His nature in us. And then for those people who have some wacky theology, it says out of Corinthians that God essentially distributes these gifts “severally as he wills.” It is His decisions to decide. But these gifts that are given, to make my point, some, for some reason Paul felt the need to write to Timothy and make some point about this gift. At 1 Timothy 4, and let me start at verse 13: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the fit that is in thee.” There’s a stewardship involved. I know it’s easy to dismiss, because “Well, Paul’s writing to Timothy,” but are we not all a template of this? Does it not say we are the habitation of God? And if so, it means that to each person, each one’s received a gift. They’re not all the same. Our heavenly Father knows how to give gifts and He knows how to disperse how He sees fit. And if you read this it says, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them.” There’s something about, in Timothy’s case, but a gift given that Paul is needed to remind him. Well, I’m going to take the position of Paul instead of speaking or writing to Timothy, I’m speaking to the people in front of me who are listening in the sound of my voice to say don’t neglect the gifts that have been given to you. And sometimes even something as, it seems as banal to say this, but as a gift to interested in the word of God; reading the Bible, studying, all those things. Don’t neglect that! You ever notice how you have seasons of things where you get in to rolling up your sleeves and you’ll spend hours going what I’ve called “the outer space black hole research.” You know, you started one and you’re looking up a word, and suddenly you ended up in another word, and holy cow! “Where am I? I’m lost in all of these different”━do you ever have that happen to you? Good, so I’m not the only person that happens to. Well, that’s a gift, by the way. Not everybody has that tenacious endurance. And it is, to keep going at it, that’s a gift! Don’t neglect it. For some people it’s singing. Some people it’s writing spiritual songs; don’t neglect that. Some people it’s poetry; don’t neglect that. They’re all gifts from God; don’t neglect them. Now there are people that say, “Well, um, I don’t know what my gift is; I haven’t seen it yet”” Well, then start with the first you know about, the gift of salvation. There’s a good one that you could start with because you wouldn’t be here or listening to any message about God if you weren’t interested in the fact that God came to save you. So put that one starting point there. Let me ask the question then of these gifts that God has given: what is the intrinsic value of His gifts to us? Can you put a price on it? Can you say “This, my gift is worth this much”? This is why it has been said here over the years you owe a debt you can never pay. People who are not so well-versed it the Bible, pardon the pun, may not understand that concept, but the more you live and breathe and the more you study and you grow in God, you realize, wait a minute! Beginning with my salvation, I don’t know why; why me? I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I’m not even sure quite the answer for some is when? I don’t know, but that’s a gift unto me. Maybe for some of you it was gifts given that you squandered over time and maybe even saw God take back a little bit to pull your chain, like, “Hey, I gave you this thing, I’m just saying, and you’re not using it for Me.” Don’t raise your hand because I know we’ve all passed through that mindset in some degree or another. Okay, stewardship that God has given in His gifts. There’s the wisdom in His gifts. In other words, God does have the knowledge. He didn’t just willy-nilly say, “Okay, here.” Let’s take Adam in the garden. He said, “All this is yours, and you can━everything’s yours, except for, you know, that one area right there and that one tree, which is off limits.” That’s stewardship right from the beginning. So there are boundaries with God and I really, this is the thing that it hurts me that people automatically jump to some very false ideas when they hear a preacher or a teacher or a teaching preacher or however you want to phrase it, talking about these types of issues, and immediately the carnal and pernicious ones go to “Well, you’re only interested in this”” No. It’s furtherance of the kingdom of God. And furtherance of the kingdom and the gospel requires people who have an understanding that God has given gifts to His church, starting with the gifts, the domatas He’s given to the church, those who are standing and preaching and teaching and evangelizing. But He’s also given gifts to the church proper. Those gifts are spelled out. We spent a long time looking at them out of Corinthians. So we could talk about the love that inspires those gifts and the costliness of those gifts, because they came at a price. Gifts given to you and to me didn’t come because we were suddenly born into the world and I said, “Look, God, I’m here!” They came at a very big price. Again, another tragedy of, I guess it is failure to understand everything that we have is, is from God’s hand and requires stewardship. Now I can move on from this because I think I’m going to, I’ll talk a little bit about me, so that you can see that there’s something required of me, just as there’s something required━there’s something required of everybody. No one can just get a free pass and say, “Okay, no problems here.” The same book, 1 Timothy; I want you to hear what Paul says writing to Timothy: “According to the glorious gospel” of the blessedness “of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust,” the gospel of the blessedness “of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” This word, by the way, “to my trust” it’s a pisteuo word, by the way. It’s kind of interesting. Titus 1:3 says the same thing “the preaching, which was committed unto me.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4: “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel.” There’s something required first of the minister. I’m speaking about me now, and then something required that flows and makes its way to you. What’s required of me: I didn’t choose the calling in my life, so I had a choice to step up to the plate and say, “The Lord will make a way, and this is, this is what it is,” or to walk away or run away like Jonah and just kind of flee, thinking maybe I can hide from the Lord and the Lord won’t find me. But each one of these instances you hear Paul say that he was allowed to be entrusted with the gospel, that God knew somehow that this man somehow would be trustworthy of the gospel. It is required of every single minister of God to be trustworthy concerning the word of God. And that means faithfully coming and opening up the word of God, faithfully learning, the word of God is abiding. I can keep going down this pathway, which is why you have many ministers that go on what I’d call a shipwreck in their faith and in their ministry because the stewardship is not there. They’re not looking at it as something given in trust, which, by the way the Owner can say, “You’re not doing your job; I remove you.” That can happen. On the flipside, if one is faithfully executing their calling, stewardship to the gospel, to the ministry, there’s also a responsibility on the part of those who can hear. And this brings me ultimately to the last part of this message, which I don’t put it last; I put it in order of how it should go. The responsibility of preaching and being entrusted with the gospel message, which should make any man or woman just shake just a little bit before they come to speak and address and talk about subjects. Why? Because, yeah, each has a mouth and will of their own; if I was just going to exercise the will that I have, it certainly wouldn’t be to have week of programming playing where I’m telling you some have just slacked in their stewardship overall to this ministry. And there are people out there who will think, “Well, I’m not there, so it doesn’t matter.” Or “I’m not; I listen, but I can’t participate anymore,” and they’ll give all the excuses. But I’ve said this before, whether you do it here or you do it somewhere else, God is looking on the heart. And as I said, this should tell you that there’s no “This is all about this work right here.” Wherever you do it, God’s going to be looking on and with whatever heart you do it with, whatever mindset you do it with, God’s going to be looking on as well. He knows the heart; I do not. He can see where I cannot. So there are people out there that say, “Well, why bother?” Fine, take that attitude. It also tells me your stewardship and you’ve got to almost go back now. The one who’s been entrusted with the gospel, you know how many times I hear people ask, you know, “Well, how does a minister in your ministry,” and right now there’s only one that’s standing in front of you, “how does, how does it work for you?” What do you mean how does it work for me? The ministry doesn’t work for me. I’m a servant of the Lord; I work for the Lord. Now the Bible says those who essentially preach the gospel should live by the gospel. That means that there should be a provision for those people who are laboring, who are laborers. But at the same time, because that’s been so widely abused, you’ve got people come back to “Well, I can’t participate, or I can’t do, because go back to the minister.” It does require stewardship in all things. I said to you stewardship is not just about you in terms of pocketbook and money and all of that. Stewardship is, there’s much more. I could keep peeling back the layers here and as I said, it has to start with me. One of the first things that I became, when I became aware of certain parts of this building or other buildings that were in a terrible condition, we’re talking about, you know, when it would rain it would rain outside, it would rain more indoors than outside. And if you were around during that time, you know what I’m saying. Buckets would fill up quicker than━you know, the minute you find out about something that it’s made known to you, then you have a responsibility to do something about it. Now I’m in that place of responsibility, and here it goes. It starts with me, it works its way all━it’s not just it’s all on me, it works its way straight through to every single part of your life. The minute I became aware of something, now I have the responsibility. I have the responsibility to deal with it as a steward. Why? Because it’s not mine and I’m going to have to give an account of how I handled this. You know, you’ve got way too many people out there in TV-land who are way too concerned about “Well, you’re handling other people’s money.” Well, first of all, you have a wrong idea about what God thinks about that money, number one; not Melissa Scott, but God. But on a secondary level, let me ask you this question. Why don’t people have the same hissy fit when they talk about that, versus people who are living either on disability or retirement from, from the government money, which is the people’s money also? You want to answer that? Why do we look at the church and say, “Aha-ha-ha”? What about the people living off of other people’s money right there? What does that mean? Again, you can’t start pulling the, pulling at the hem when you’ve got a string there, because it’s all going to fall apart; not just in one area, it falls apart straight across the board. There are a lot of people who do not consider that this is not other people’s money. Unlike tax dollars, which is other people’s money, this is money that belongs to the Lord. And when we talk about that here, it’s the stewardship that is to Him, for His work. Now He could do it all without us, I’m sure, but He’s chosen at the beginning of time, “Let us make Adam in our image” to do His bidding. And that’s been the way it’s been until the coming of Christ, who came in our image and likeness to declare God. No man has seen God; Christ has declared Him. So if, it’s almost like you’ve got to look at all these steps all the way through and don’t look at stewardship simply as “Well, she’s talking about money today.” But if we’re going to talk about the subject of money, let’s talk sanely. 2 Corinthians 9:7, and I have stood by this Scripture even though I may not have quoted it to you chapter and verse, I have stood by this Scripture time and time again; 2 Corinthians 9:7, because it always bothers me how people will manage and twist for their own benefit. Now I talk about tithes and offerings, but I want you to hear what Paul’s telling to the Corinthians, which by the way, well endowed with spiritual gifts, but they didn’t have a stewardship over their spiritual gifts, but they were cheap and they would not fulfill what Paul had said about giving. And here he says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart,” italicized, “so let him give; not grudgingly, or out of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” Now what bothers me is failure to grab hold of this same stewardship. Read the verse right before that, verse 6: “He which soweth sparingly shall rap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” It disturbs me because the reaping process is not something that we can talk about in the here and now. People may be blessed in the here and now. This is an age-old question that the Old Testament closes with out of the prophet Malachi. He says, “Will a man rob God…wherein have you robbed me? In tithes and offerings.” It was the religious people of the day Malachi’s words were addressed to, not the average citizen. It was the people who were in the know who had failed to━“Will a man rob God?” Yes, and men and women do all the day long. And let me go back and say not limited to tithes and offerings, but to time and to acknowledgment and careful stewardship of the gifts given, like a man, who we’ll just say is a great carpenter and could do many useful things for the ministry, but elects to not give his time; which is not his time, with his gifts that God has given, because he chooses to do something else. Is that going to take you to hell? No, but when we’re talking about stewardship, I think it gives a very clear picture of what I’m driving at. Now all of this that I’ve just laid out here, and I could keep going on the subject, and there’s a long list of these, but all of this ties into something that caught my eye in kind of toiling with what Luke seems to use most often, the word “stewardship” in the Greek comes from a word where we get our English word “economy,” oikonomia. And in two places in Luke’s writing, he talks about the prodigal who asked for his inheritance, and it says he went and “wasted it,” and then you’ve got the parable of the wicked steward who also he opens with in Luke 16:1, saying he “wasted it.” Both of those talks are addressed to, the first one apparently is addressed to the Pharisees and the scribes, and the latter is addressed to His disciples, but in any event, there’s an emphasis on wasting and squandering. Now I suppose if somebody doesn’t care to dig in and press as to what this means, but a careful reading of Luke 16, to the wicked steward, who wasn’t doing his part, his lord said to him; it doesn’t say our Lord said to him, it says, his lord said to him, “Thou shall no more be a steward, but you’re going to have to give an account, essentially of all that you’ve done.” So he’s, he hurriedly tried to make good by writing some bills and acting very cleverly, and the sagacity that he used was not being heralded as a good deed from the Lord, simply clever use of squirreling out of what he had squandered. Now we may take a good lesson out of that and recognize that God is still looking for stewards. In the days of, after the time of men like Wycliffe, where people thought that the greatest stewardship that they had was preserving, before the Bible was printed, was preserving the word of God and ensuring that it was transferred from one set of hands, who would care for the word before there was mass printing, into another set of hands that would take that word and go out and preach and declare. And we no longer have that same sense of stewardship because it’s; it’s available to the masses. It’s somehow something that’s so available, maybe it has lost its appeal in terms of because it’s so widely available. But guess what? It’s not as widely available as people think. Why? Because there are fewer and fewer preaching the gospel, because it becomes more difficult to have these types of talks. And secondarily, because of something that’s said right there in the Scripture. The way is quite broad that leads to destruction. Narrow is the way, and that narrow gate, that straight and narrow gate, even for those, by the way, who are on the path, it says very clearly that there’s very few that can even go in thereat. That’s not to say, “Oh, well, I’m walking and I can’t qualify.” It means few as in don’t think it’s a vast, great amount of people, a vast multitude who can grasp these truths even about stewardship. The stewardship of life and time is something that we tend to say “Don’t waste my time.” And you, we’ve said that before in our daily colloquial expression, right, “Don’t waste my time! You’re wasting my time!” But the reality is who’s time is it? Now the expression serves one thing, but mindset of the stewardship says another. End of life, I think about the things that I probably could have been a better steward at, but now that I’m aware I realize, okay, I’m not perfect. I’m going to make mistakes, but here my heart is applied to this concept. It doesn’t mean that I’m “Now I know what the word declares! I’m going to walk on the straight and narrow and never fall off.” Come on, if you can; if you can be like that you’re in the wrong church. This is a church of people who constantly fall down, mess up, know they’re messed up and know about God’s grace as well that when you miss the mark, God is saying, “It’s okay as long as you get up and you show that you’re willing to get up and point and walk in the right direction.” God will meet you halfway there and the grace that abounds, and that is another type of stewardship. This is why Paul said if sin is, you know, if we could just talk about sin in the sense of if you’re free to sin; there are no consequences. If grace abounds, then sin all the more! There’s another form of stewardship. I could keep going down the list of these things, but I just want to leave you with this one thought. This ministry has a lot of work to do. When I say “this ministry” it’s not just party of one standing in front you; the body. And the work that has to be done all pertains and all leads back to the word, the word being perpetuated, the word being preserved, the word being put out, the gospel being spread; what could be more critical than a ministry like this, and I’m saying this just like this so you don’t━I’m not mincing words. A ministry like this, I don’t have anything to offer you except from this book to grow in grace with you together, to preach the word, to lead us on to eternal perspectives and glean more out of the book. There’s nothing more that I have to give you. There’s no “Jesus junk,” there are no give-away things that I can entice people with, because I realize those people would be coming for the wrong reason anyway. Not interested; if God’s not doing it, I don’t want to. I don’t want to try to do it for Him. That’s done all the daylong in the name of Jesus. And yes, Dr. Scott was right, uncommon men and women who really understand what this is about, who are able to make a commitment and not treat it casually. That commitment is not just “I’ve become a King’s House and a King’s Tither,” and then suddenly that excitement, you know, wanes after you realize that the responsibility is now on you. It’s all about stewardship. Now I would be lousy steward if I didn’t come here and talk to you about this which has been really up and down or all over the map for especially the last year, but really the last probably month it’s been somewhat disastrous. And because I’m not teaching on giving and because I’m not━well listen, there’s only so much time given on a Sunday morning, but there’s 168 hours. If you are a night owl, turn on the network, go online, find, click on the teaching you want to listen to, but start listening at whatever time you choose to do and recognize that there’s a responsibility. To whom much is given, much will be required and it isn’t simply just saying, “Oh, yeah. I know all this stuff and I really don’t have anything to do.” No, it means there is something for you to do. Your calling to this ministry requires, as I said, responsibility and accountability. These things transcend. They are, it’s not just in the here and now; this is in everything that we do. So when I say to you this type of a message needs to be brought out there and put out there so people can hear; it’s not just the folks in this sanctuary. It’s anybody listening in the sound of my voice who has sat, enjoyed biblical teaching and then decided that they don’t need to respond. Well, I can’t make you have the ability to respond. Only God can do that, which is why I said it’s a gift, and that too requires stewardship, taking care of something that God has given you that you are only a temporary custodian of while you are here. That’s me and that’s you. I pray somewhere in the sound of my voice, for the ones who have just basically said, “I don’t have to do,” or “I won’t,” that God will give a heart today to recognize, no, there’s a responsibility and a calling placed on you. You feed at this table, you pay where you receive your spiritual food; another form of stewardship. And the only thing I can tell you is even if you spent your time and squandered it and you haven’t been wise with it, today’s a good day to make today the first day of the rest of your life in your stewardship pertaining to the things that belong to Him. And yeah, maybe you’ll fall down, maybe you’ll make some mistakes along the way; we all do, but it’s the ability to see and know I’m not my own, I’m bought with a price. And if I can’t even have that heart to say, “Lord, all You’ve done for me,” and I can’t even give one hour of my time? Or I can’t figure out that the word “tith”” is not a somehow a four-letter word, even though it has five. I don’t know. These things shouldn’t be done with that type of attitude, but rather, glory to God that I’m allowed to participate! Glory to God that He’s given me eyes and ears and I’m able to see and to hear to receive and to respond! Glory to God that I have a gift or a talent that I’m not going to hide, I’m not going to put it into a cloth and tuck it away somewhere, but Lord, it’s Yours, so show me how You want me to use it and I will try━key word━to be as faithful in being that malleable clay that You can work with, use and put one day on display in Your great gallery of faithers who were obedient to the faith in trusting in Your word. I hope that the message on stewardship will take for some who have not yet responded, and for those who have it’s just a reinforcement of what you already know. This is something this ministry needs to get really in check with, because as I said, it’s one thing to say, “Oh, the time is bad and we don’t have much time,” but the one thing that you do have is time. We’re all allotted the same amount of time. I don’t care if your skin is a different color, the shape of your face or your gender is different, we all have the same amount of time during the week, 168 hours. Even though I prayed for more, that’s all you get, that’s all I get, right? Well, I need to tell you one last thing before I go and it’s about something I touched on. This isn’t just giving in the now. Why do you think over and over and over and over and over again, go back and read Matthew 6 about how the Lord says your heavenly Father will reward you. There has to be some, in our carnal minds, there has to be some catch to this. Well, there is and it’s called an eternity and when the rewards are handed out it won’t be somehow where this pharisaical thing of you know, you got your name over here and it’s on a plaque. It will be the gallery of heaven that’s witnessed your whole life as you have unfolded it or as God has unfolded it or you’ve walked in it, and the recognition that what you did, you did unto the Lord. You didn’t do it because you love me or you hate me; you did it unto the Lord. You didn’t do something begrudgingly; you did it of a willful heart. You didn’t do whatever it is you did because “Pastor said” and here we come with the legalistic box-checking thing. No, you did it because you know the Audience that you serve, the unseen Audience is taking note of those who have a heart towards Him, and maybe some who are just the lip service kind, but He’s taking note of that. Your name is written in the book of heaven, and when we talk about a reward for doing something, don’t think about “Well, if I invest a little bit here, God will give it back to me here.” Then you’re missing the whole concept of what exactly it means about your heavenly Father. Can people be rewarded in the here and now? Absolutely for their fidelity, but I have to say that most of these things will be handed out not in the here and now, but in His presence, in His presence in eternity. So stewardship, bombs away for some of you who just said, “Well, I know. You just enforced it,” and for others who just say, “Well, I can’t do that.” Well, we’ll pray for you. In the meantime I’m needing your prayers because this ministry cannot exist on fumes of people and their wishful thoughts and wishful thinking about “We wish you well, Pastor Scott.” The stewardship that’s involved on my part and the stewardship that’s involved in your part requires something of an activity that begins, by the way, with faith, saying, “I trust in God and I trust in His word. I know where I’ve placed that trust, so I’m going to start acting upon that right now at this very moment.” Ushers come, it’s offering time. That’s my message. You have been watching me, Pastor Melissa Scott, live from Glendale, California at Faith Center. If you would like to attend the service with us, Sunday morning at 11am, simply call 1-800-338-3030 to receive your pass. If you’d like more teaching and you would like to go straight to our website, the address is www.PastorMelissaScott.com

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