“Faithful Stewards of God’s Infinite Grace”
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
Over the past few weeks, we have considered various aspects of our annual stewardship emphasis, “Faithful Stewards of God’s Infinite Grace.” We have been reminded of the fact that we are managers and stewards of what God has entrusted to us. We have observed how total stewardship consists of time, talents and treasure, all of which are to be used for God’s glory and for the good of others.
We now come to a place of commitment, a time when we are challenged by God to step out by faith in obedience to what God asks of us. In fact, we are being asked to demonstrate our trust in God as we step out by faith concerning our finances and our giving. We are being asked to put God to the test in this vital area of our lives.
And what might that be? God is asking each of us to stretch our faith. Concerning our giving, God challenges us with this invitation, “ . . . put me to the test . . . see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” In the entire Bible, giving is the only subject about which God gives us this challenge. God does not do so concerning salvation, prayer, Bible reading, or any other aspect of the Christian life except giving.
Bob Pierce was the founder of World Vision and later developed Samaritan’s Purse, an organization now headed by Franklin Graham. In his book, Rebel With a Cause, Graham describes some instruction he received from Pierce, who said,
You know, Franklin, you always have to have “God room” — when you have a need you believe God wants you to meet. You try, but you can’t. After you’ve exhausted all your human effort, there’s still a gap. No matter what you do, you just can’t humanly bring it about. That’s when you pray and leave room for God to work. You watch God close that gap. . . .
Faith isn’t required as long as you set your goal only as high as the most intelligent, most informed, and expert human effort can reach. Nothing is a miracle until it reaches the area where the utmost that human effort can do still isn’t enough. God has to fill that space — that room — between what’s possible and what God wants done that’s impossible. . . .You don’t exercise faith until you have promised more than it’s possible to give.
Today, as you consider your support of First Church in the coming year, you have a choice. You can analyze your financial situation in light of the economy, and you can make a commitment based on human logic and reason. In other words, based on your personal financial resources and situation, you can commit to give what any reasonable Christian might give. Or, as a faithful steward of God’s infinite grace, you can step out by faith in response to God’s leading. You can allow “God room” by promising more than it’s possible — from a human viewpoint — to give. And then you can watch God provide in ways that you cannot begin to imagine.
Jerry Bridges, Vice President of The Navigators, provided this spiritual principle:
When God burdens your heart about something, and you confirm God’s leading based on the Scriptures, you can obey, being fully confident that God will provide a blessing, even when circumstances appear contrary.
When it comes to giving, that goes right along with what King Solomon described in Proverbs 11:24-25,
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
On behalf of our entire congregation, thank you for giving of your time and talents to the Lord’s work here. Thank you for stepping out by faith in obedience to all that God asks concerning your financial support of First Church and for giving as God has prospered you.