“Working Together . . . Celebrating God’s Good Gifts”
“For we are God’s fellow workers . . . ” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
We are entering into our annual stewardship emphasis with the theme, “Working Together . . . Celebrating God’s Good Gifts.” Today and over the next three weeks, we will consider what it means to work together with God as we celebrate God’s good gifts to us.
Did you ever stop to think that God could have done it all? He could have taken it upon Himself to be the sum total of every aspect of reaching people with the Gospel and of helping them grow in their Christian faith.
But for reasons perhaps known fully only to Him, He didn’t. He chose to utilize people: Men, women, teenagers, and children in His worldwide harvest field and here at [Name of Church]. That’s why the Apostle Paul states so clearly that although we are God’s servants, in reality, we are “working together” with Him. “We are God’s fellow workers.”
Hopefully, all that takes place here is done for God’s glory. Hopefully, all that is done is done in His power and through His enabling grace. However, in the final analysis, it is done through people, “working together” with God.
And as we are “working together,” we are “celebrating God’s good gifts.” We certainly have much to celebrate. With the hymn writer, we proclaim,
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To your great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Great is your faithfulness!
James 1:17 expresses this truth clearly: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Think about some of God’s good gifts: God gives the seed, the rain, health, life, strength, riches, grace and eternal life. All of these good gifts are tangible demonstrations of God’s love and goodness.
Today, we are entering into our stewardship emphasis for 2017. Mention the word “stewardship” to the average person, and the first thing that comes to mind is money.
Make no mistake about it: Money is a vital element of stewardship that is absolutely necessary for the work and ministry of our church to move forward. Total stewardship has been likened to a three-legged stool. Money is one of the legs of that stool. Without that leg, the stool cannot stand.
But the other two legs are equally important. Without them, the stool cannot stand. Just what are those other legs? Simply stated, they are “time” and “talents.” Total stewardship consists of the “three Ts” — time, talents and treasure. Remove any one of the three, and stewardship is severely weakened and undermined in an individual life, in a family and in a church like ours.
What’s really interesting is that there is a basic underlying principle that has to do with time, talents and treasure. It’s found many places in the Bible and has even been mentioned here at [Name of Church] from time to time. It’s this: God owns it all! That’s right, God owns our time, our talents and our treasure. According to Psalm 24:1, the earth — and everything in it — is the Lord’s. That includes us. Our time, our talents and our treasure.
So instead of being owners, we are managers. What’s the difference between an owner and a manager? Owners have rights; managers have responsibilities. Owners determine how their resources will be used; managers carry out the directives and wishes of the owner.
In the final analysis, God owns it all and retains all of the rights of ownership. Our role is to manage what God has entrusted to us — our time, our talents and our treasure.
Over the next three weeks, we will examine how we are to use our time, our talents and our treasure as those who are “working together” with God, as those who are “celebrating God’s good gifts.” I hope you will be here for those presentations. In the meantime, at the very outset of this year’s stewardship emphasis, will you begin to think and pray about changes God would ask you to make in how you manage the resources of time, talents and treasure that God has entrusted to you?
As the tombstone in an old cemetery read, “What I spent, I had; what I saved, I lost; what I gave, I have.”
Remember, ” . . . we are God’s fellow workers.”