“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 few 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 God, He didn’t. He chose to utilize people: Men, women, teenagers, and children in His worldwide harvest field and here at @@. 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.”
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 gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
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.
As we enter into our stewardship emphasis this year, there is a problem with the word “stewardship.” Mention “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 @@ 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.
Many people love playing Monopoly. They like creating a vast real estate empire out of nothing. They like to concentrate on getting the best properties such as Boardwalk and Park Place. Then they buy some green houses and start charging rent. Soon they buy some red hotels and charge even more rent.
But eventually, the game is over. The green houses, the red hotels, and all the paper money go back into the box.
One day, the game of life will be over. All that we worked for and sacrificed for will go back into the box. What counts is what we have done with our time, talents and treasure that will endure for all eternity.
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.“