“Blessed by God to be a Blessing”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
As we have seen in previous presentations, everything we have comes from God’s bountiful hand and is a blessing to us from Him. Our response to God’s provision should be one of contentment and thanksgiving, realizing that God is indeed our Source.
But our response should be much more than that. Because of God’s love for us, and because God has demonstrated that love in so many ways, we should seek to cultivate a stewardship lifestyle. A stewardship lifestyle is one which realizes that our role is that of a manager, a steward, who is accountable to God for the use of the resources which God has given to us. Those resources can be divided into three areas.
First, God has given us our time. That precious gift has been given equally to everyone. All of us have exactly the same amount of time. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, are ours to use. We can waste them. We can spend them on ourselves as we selfishly pursue our pleasures and the activities that bring us delight. Or we can use them to further God’s kingdom, especially here in our church. Becoming actively involved in the life and ministry of our church, serving in various ways, and seeking to bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ through this outreach should be priorities for each of us who has been “blessed by God to be a blessing.”
Walking hand in hand with our time are our talents. God has given to each of us abilities in some area, abilities which can be used for His glory. And because of our faith in Christ as Savior, God has also provided spiritual gifts as the means whereby we might minister in Christ’s name to other people. We can think of our abilities and spiritual gifts as our possessions and use them primarily for our benefit. Conversely, we can see them as tools by which we can glorify God and be a blessing to others.
And then there is the “treasure” aspect of a stewardship lifestyle. Although most of us think of this whenever stewardship is mentioned, “treasure” is only one-third of the equation which comprises total stewardship. Stewardship, in fact, has been compared to a three-legged stool. Remove one of the legs, and the stool cannot stand. But when all three legs are present, then the stool is able to do that for which it was designed. Similarly, a stewardship lifestyle consists of time, talents and treasure, all of which are gifts from God and all of which are to be used for God’s glory.
Jesus commended a poor widow for giving two mites, mainly because she gave all that she had. Someone has calculated that at four percent interest compounded semi-annually, that sum would now be worth $4.8 billion. No doubt there is tremendous potential even in a small investment which is allowed to grow for a long period of time. But her investment continues to reproduce itself in another way as God’s people are challenged by her sacrifice and dare to follow her example. Like the widow, the poorest and least-talented Christians can further God’s kingdom and indeed be a blessing when what they give of their time, talents and treasure represents sacrifice, devotion and love for Christ.
The key questions to be asked today are these: As you consider a stewardship lifestyle, will you seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness? Will you make God’s work and ministry here a priority in your life by giving generously of your time, talents and treasure? Just as Abraham was blessed by God to be a blessing, will you follow his example and realize afresh that you have been blessed by God so that you might be a blessing to others?
As you consider your response, you might echo in your heart the thoughts of this prayer by Ken Gire:
Lord, give me the faith to realize that you will bless what I give, no matter how small the loaves or how few the fish. No matter how meager the time or the talents or the treasures I place in your hands, you will multiply them. I don’t have much, Lord, but I give you what I have. Take my . . . life and the small skills that accompany it. Take them into your hands, Lord. Bless them. Multiply them. Use them for your glory and for the good of others.