Sitting with Jesus – Stewardship
John Wesley wrote: “When The Possessor of Heaven and Earth brought you into being and placed you in this world, He placed you here not as owner but as Steward.”
Ron Blue wrote: “Stewardship is the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given goals.”
Read: Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is; there your heart will be also.”
The subject of ‘Stewardship’ is vast. So, this morning, we are looking at “Personal Stewardship.” What we, individually are called to ‘Be’ and ‘Do’, as we express our love for The Lord Jesus Christ through our life, on earth. As a Steward of what we have and, most importantly, who we are. Because we are unique. There is no one else like you and I. Even if you are an identical twin you are unique. The Call of God upon each life is unique. Our characteristics, combination of giftedness, our personally – we are unique and as such we are stewards of who we are and what we do.
 Personal Stewardship: Testimony
Who owns you? For the Christian Believer we are Father God’s!
(1 Corinthians: 19-20) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of The Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.
It is vitally important that we take Personal Responsibility to Steward our Testimony. To be “salt and light”….. To let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:13a, 14a & 16).
If we haven’t done so already let’s decide from this moment onwards that we Steward our physical body – to The Glory of God. To take personal responsibility to maximise our opportunities – Self development/Development of giftedness.
“Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or best) and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) (AMP).
It is vitally important to invest in ourselves. To train our hands and minds to fulfil our callings in whatever field we are involved and called to serve in. Take the opportunities – through school, college, university, in the workplace. Make the opportunities to learn for a lifetime. Here is not all there is – Eternity of Stewardship is ahead of us!
Our Physical Mental, Emotional Fitness
For years I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) was on the agenda to develop. Now, rightly so, people’s E.Q. (Emotional Quotient) is on the agenda to develop. Our physical fitness has probably been challenged during the challenge of Covid and Lockdowns – I know mine has – I need to eat less, exercise more. A new decade is beckoning for me soon, so I really do need to sort that. It’s 20 years in June since I ran, walked, crawled over the line to complete the marathon. My knees appreciate walking more than running these days and I need to get out there and do it!
The balance of Work/Rest and Play is essential to get right.
Spiritual Disciplines: of Prayer. Fasting. The Word of God. Praise and Worship. Journaling. Fellowship with God’s people. Evangelism. All of this has been challenging and different during Covid days. But we have expressed our faith in Jesus.
 Personal Stewardship: Tithes and Offerings
This is a Spiritual discipline too. I grew up in a home that “gave the tithe first out of the wage packet.” I’m a firm believer in Malachi 3:10-11 “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 there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe says The Lord Almighty.”
In our personal lives we are called to have an ear open to The Holy Spirit as much in the area of finances, as in any other area of our lives. To give sacrificially as The Spirit leads us is essential to fulfil our calling to Personal Stewardship: Tithes and offerings.
 Personal Stewardship: Taxes and Bills
(Romans 13:5-8a) “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s Servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue: if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. Let no debt remain outstanding.”
In answer to the trick question, to entrap Jesus, by the Pharisees, “Is it right to pay the Imperial Tax to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:17b) Taking a coin and asking whose head was inscribed on it? “Then He (Jesus) said to them, so give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s!” (Matthew 22:21).
 Personal Stewardship: Time and Energy
There are different seasons in life. Dividing up, Stewarding our Time and Energy looks different in each season. Principles I’ve tried to live by:-
First: The Lord
Second: Wife (spouse) and Family – Home Life
Forth: Service for The Lord – Church
For all of us, at times, it gets complicated and lines become blurred.
I love the wisdom literature that is Ecclesiastes.
(Ecclesiastes 3:12-13) “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is a gift of God.”
 Personal Stewardship: Territory, Kit and Boodle
Our ‘Possessions’ – House/Home/Stuff of every description – everything that comes into our possession – it all needs stewarding. We need to do so accepting (Ecclesiastes 5:15, 18-20) “Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands…. This is what I have observed to be good: that is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
Personal Stewardship involves maintenance of our God given Territory, Kit and Boodle.
 Personal Stewardship: Testimony and Last Will – Legacy
In a week when we have heard a lot about Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Legacy. It is a good moment to talk Legacy. We are, I trust, leaving legacy with people, places, organisations every day as we interact and live our lives out – sharing our wisdom, knowledge, love kindness, finance, stuff, time.
John Wesley’s Rule:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, In all the places you can,
At all the times you can, To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.” (John Wesley: 1703 – 1791)
Through a Testament – a last Will – our work goes on. That’s why consideration should be given to it before The Lord. (Proverbs 13:22a) “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”
An inheritance can pave the way for great Blessing and Freedom, for family, friends, organisations, enabling the Work of The Lord and The Kingdom of God to flourish.
Personal Stewardship: involves Sacrifice, Service and Sanctification
Sacrifice – We don’t live for ourselves alone.
Service – We don’t serve our own ends.
Sanctification – We don’t build our own kingdom.
Through fulfilling these 3 “S’s” we become more like Jesus, living life His way – to Glorify The Father during our lifetime….
Personal Stewardship: – Is a Training Ground for us here on earth that will continue to be fulfilled, through our life, in Eternity.
In the Parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus says, (Matthew 25: 34-40) “Then The King will say. Come, you who are Blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and came to visit Me. Then the Righteous will answer Him, Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You? The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me!”
The Greatest Accolade that we can receive from Jesus about our Personal Stewardship is shared through the Parable of Bags of Gold, about Entrustment – “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s Happiness! (Matthew 25:21-23).
Just as I put my pen down I sensed The Voice of The Holy Spirit saying, “Don’t fear Personal Stewardship – people, places, things. Be confident in the calling of The Lord to handle who and what is ahead – for His Glory! For His Kingdom! For His Purposes! This is your destiny! Take hold of it! Steward it!