Posts tagged Stewardship
Monday Message: Heart of Stewardship

This week's Monday Message is a repeat from June 30, 2014.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Matthew 13:44

Where to begin is often the most difficult question for some people in stewardship. It is only possible to faithfully place everything in Jesus’ hands when it is done with joy.  Joy is only possible when we understand our value within the Kingdom of God.
With that said, there is still a very clear message that nothing can be held back.  The Kingdom of God demands all that we are and all that we have.  Fulfilling this demand is the heart of stewardship.
In some instances, like that of the rich young ruler in Luke 18, Jesus asks that we sell all that we have to give to the poor.  But more often, I have experienced the Holy Spirit asking friends and followers of Jesus to simply be faithful with the gifts they have been given.  In both of these cases, the key is to be listening to God.
There are certain things about stewardship that are universal.  God expects us to be kind and generous.  He expects us to look to Him for our security and our sustenance.  But the most important things of stewardship are worked out in intimate relationship with Jesus.  Notice how he burdens your heart to give of your time, your talents, and your resources.  Listen to the places he identifies within you that resist His Presence.  In these places, confess and ask him to help you to trust.  Then wait to discover the joy of God’s Presence.  It is from this joy that we give in stewardship.

Jesus, we confess the ways that stuff plays too important a role in our lives. Help us this day to hear your voice and to step into a life of stewardship with you.  Amen.

Monday Message: Key to Contentment

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  6 So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?” 

Hebrews 13:5-6

One of the incredible blessing afforded to us in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus is the opportunity to be content.  

Contentment does not come easily to people.  Future worries and concerns are always popping up to steal contentment away.  Past griefs and wounds constantly drive us from the rest of contentment.  So we must scramble to amass power greater than what we have in order to meet the potential challenges of tomorrow.  The best measurement of control, influence, and safety that we have today is money.  So many spend their lives in the love of money.

The problem with this path is that we can never amass enough to ensure the future or to heal the past.  The writer of the book of Hebrews points us in a different direction.  Instead of money, we must look to God.  When we do, we are given the ability to be content “in any and all circumstances” (Phil. 4:12).

How is this possible?  The answer is that trust frees us from our worries of the future, our guilt from the past, and our insecurities about today.  We trust God to be able to handle everything.  God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  God promises his presence both now and into the future.  He will never leave.  God promises his connection to us no matter what we have done in the past.  He will never forsake.  
When we begin to trust God, we realize that nothing should scare us.  God is our partner in life.  He is able.  Because he is able, we need not be afraid.  We are freed to be content.

The hinge point to this life of faith is often found in confession.  We must admit that our tendency is to love money rather than to trust God.  This does not mean that we must hate money, rather that we must guard ourselves from allowing it to usurp the position only God can truly hold in our lives.  Begin today by allowing confession to slowly unravel the love of money and build the contentment in trust in God.

Dear Jesus, we confess the ways that we love money.  We ask that you would teach us to trust you… to lead us into contentment.  Take from us our fear by being close to us.  We are grateful that you are our helper in the midst of our need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday Message: God and Money

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD…    1 Chronicles 17:16

We are presently in the midst of stewardship season at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.  It is the time of year we are asking those who are part of our community to commit financially to the church for the coming year.  Yet, even as we invite people to pledge to the church, we are aware that this season is often more about relationship than it is about money.  In fact, the fact that it is about money simply gives us new perspective on our relationship with God.

Last Sunday, we recounted the time when God told King David, “Keep your money, I don’t need it.”  The truth is that God does not need our money.  What God desires instead is a relationship with us that includes giving and receiving.  When David offered to give without a sense of the connectedness of having received, God frankly wasn’t interested.

Giving without an awareness of the partnership of God in our lives develops an unhealthy relationship with God.  It misunderstands the ways that God is already present in our lives and in our finances.  It misunderstands the opportunity to continue to partner with God in charity to those in need and support of ministry that honors God’s name.  It misunderstands it by making the transaction financial instead of relational. 

When we give and receive with an awareness of God’s partnership in our lives, we move in relationship.  We participate in the Kingdom of God.  

When David was faced with this distinction, he came into the Presence of God and sat down.  He did not try to “do.”  He did not try to give.  He rested in who God was and the ways God desired to partner with him in life.  

Before we give, we should pause in the Presence of God.  Like King David, we need to listen to the places God has been moving in our lives already.  We need to receive the promises that he makes to uphold and establish us.  Then we can respond with humility, gratitude, and partnership with God.

Jesus, money is often difficult for us to talk about in church.  We confess the ways that we have seen money abused in your name.  We confess the ways we have felt manipulated and shamed about money in your name.  Open our eyes so that we can begin to know your Presence with us now.  Teach us to give freely in partnership with you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.