Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.
Eric Hulstrand writes in Leadership magazine: “While I was preaching one Sunday, an elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance.
As they strapped her to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door, Mary regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what could be her final words.
The daughter leaned over until her ear was at her mother’s mouth.
’My offering is in my purse,’ she whispered.”
That elderly woman was a remarkable person. Her last words showed what was of highest importance to her – to be a steward of gifts God had given her.
“Stewardship” means: using God given abilities to manage God given resources, to accomplish God ordained results.
That’s important. When I think of Stewardship I often only think of my money (giving of my resources). BUT giving money to church is not stewardship, it is merely part of stewardship. Tho’ you can’t be a steward without giving of money.
WELL THEN, if stewardship isn’t about money, maybe it is about doing ministry (giving of my abilities). BUT what you do in ministry for God is not stewardship either. It is a part of good stewardship and you can’t be a steward without giving of your abilities.
Well, if stewardship is not about what I can give, and not what I can do… what is it about?
Stewardship is about having the HEART OF STEWARDSHIP. In other words, good stewardship is a matter of ATTITUDE that stands behind your giving and your service.
It’s not what you give or what you do for God, it’s WHY you do it.
If you give money/ resources to God – wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward.
If you do ministry (serve the church) – wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable about the attitude of stewardship. There are three attitudes on display here… and many church goers exhibit 1 of those 3.
The 1st attitude is this: What’s YOURS is MINE and I’m going to take it (vs. 30 – the thieves on the road).
That’s not an attitude we’d approve of. IN FACT, even the world understands this is wrong.
AND YET, in Malachi 3:8-10 God speaks to Israel…
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse– the whole nation of you– because you are robbing me. 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.
Granted, that was under the Old Testament. The Tithe was commanded in the Law. BUT I can’t picture God feeling much different today.
Let’s say that you’ve gone to eat in a fancy restaurant (not a cafeteria, not a fast food establishment). We’re talking a NICE restaurant with pretty tablecloths on tables and a candle in center to set the mood.
A waitress attends to your every need. You eat a sumptuous meal and at the end, you are very satisfied. WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU DO BEFORE LEAVING??? You give a TIP.
What is a “Tip?” 10%.
NOW, if a patron leaves the restaurant, and puts no money (or something less than a tip) at their table -what’s that waitress likely to think?
She might think “Did I do a poor job?”
But, MORE LIKELY she’s going to think: “That guy’s real jerk. He robbed me!!!”
TELL ME, did you owe her that tip? No! BUT, if she’s the type of waitress she should have been, such a “Gratuity” shows appreciation for her service – for what she’s done for you.
For the Christian, the tithe might not be “required of us,” But if God is important to us, if we really love Him, if He’s really the God wetell our neighbors He is… the Tithe is a powerful way of showing your appreciation of who He is to you.
But the 1st attitude that some church goers exhibit is what’s yours is mine and I’m going to keep it.
The 2nd attitude is What’s MINE is MINE and I’m going to keep it (vs. 31-32)
Who does Jesus say passed by this man in the ditch? (A Levite and a Pharisee). These were men of ministry. These were religious leaders. These were the DOERS in the congregation. They were trained to serve God – BUT they’re not going to do anything for beaten man.
In order for them to help this man, they’d have to give up something important to them… their time, their resources, personal comfort.
They’ve been trained to do “religious things.” They’ve been trained to do ministry. But when the time comes to do “real ministry” they turn their heads away. Their attitude is “What’s mine is mine – I’m going to keep it. THEY ARE NOT GOOD STEWARDS.
3rd attitude – What’s MINE is YOURS – I’ll share it with you (vss. 33-37).
This Samaritan was not “trained in ministry.” The Samaritan was probably not any wealthier than the Levite or Pharisee. This Samaritan probably had other things to do in his life. AND YET, he stopped where the others walked on by.
WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE? – His attitude. The Samaritan’s attitude helped him
1. Overcome his prejudice
2. Ignore the inconvenience
3. Give up his possessions to take care of this man
His attitude was what made his story worth telling.
WHAT’S THE RIGHT ATTITUDE FOR A “GOOD STEWARD” OF GOD?
It’s the attitude of ownership.
You know what a “steward” is? A steward is someone who takes care of something for someone else. If you’re a steward.. you don’t own what you have. So, if I’m going to be a “steward for God” I need to make up my mind that I don’t own…
1. My Time
2. My Money
3. My Possessions
4. My Relationships
They’re all His. They belong to Him. I just manage them. IF I MASTER THIS ATTITUDE – I’m a Good steward.
At one time at the City Temple in London, there was in the congregation a restaurateur named Emil Mettler, who was a close friend and missions agent of Albert Schweitzer in Britain. Mettler would never allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal in his restaurant but once he did happen to open his cash register in the presence of a Secretary of the London Missionary Society. The Secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail.
What was it doing there?
Mettler explained, “I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation. If we all just give of our time, talents and treasure in a stewardly like fashion our christain body would be able to reach the heights God has purposed for us. If the promise was good for those under the Law… how much more do you think God will be faithful to us who are under His Grace.