Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Church Family > Sermon Summaries > 26 Jun 2004, Norman Tew - Practise the Five Principles of Stewardship

Practise the Five Principles of Stewardship

26 Jun 2004, Norman Tew

(Norm is a member of Thornleigh church)

The idea for this sermon came from a Christian e-mail entitled "Practice the Five Principles of Stewardship."  The article was digested from a book by Ray Linder who is is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Family Financial Concepts and the author of Making the Most of Your Money. A popular speaker, he also serves on the ministry staff of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia, U.S.A. The book being digested was entitled :-  "From Financial Freedom: Seven Secrets to Reduce Financial Worry".

The article started off as follows:

"Western culture teaches that those with the most money are the winners in life.
God's purposes for money are quite different from modern society's. Quantity of money is not important to God. 
Therefore, in determining winners and losers in God's economic system,
        it is the quality of financial management,
        not the quantity of finances,
        that matters most.
Godly financial stewardship is a matter of how, not how much."

The main part of the article was then headed:-  "Five principles of godly stewardship."  But before we get to those let us consider the first statement.  What is the Bible attitude to money?

But does the Bible really praise the poor and condemn the rish?  The ancestors of Jesus had money:

Job was also a wealthy man and there is no criticism of his wealth.

This does come back to the original statement, doesn't it?  "Godly financial stewardship is a matter of how, not how much."  So let us then look at the Five principles of Godly stewardship as outlined in the article.  I will list the first sentence of each heading before looking at them in detail.

1.  God owns everything
2.  The people of God are God's management company
3.  Stewardship is responsibility with accountability
4.  Stewardship demands a commitment to others
5.  Stewardship has eternal consequences

These are not the normal headings that a Seventh-day Adventist Stewardship Leader usually uses, but they are valid ones.  Let us look at them in more detail.

ONE - God owns everything.

"Everything means every thing."  This quotes two texts.

(Psalms 24:1 NRSV)  The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;

(Genesis 2:15 NRSV)  The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

The creation record makes it clear that God is the sovereign Creator who owns and reigns over the earth. It is also clear that God appointed man to manage this creation Does this not include all that we have?  What we have we are only managing for God

TWO - The people of God are God's management company.

This one does not quote any texts but states:

"If you are a Christian, remember that being part of God's household gives you responsibilities to work for the house of God. You enter into a contract with God that requires you to be a steward of your part of His creation. It is a further obligation that although you are free to make your own choices, the choices you make must give God glory."

Is this Biblical?

(Deuteronomy 8:7-18 NRSV)  For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, {8} a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, {9} a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. {10} You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you. {11} Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. {12} When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, {13} and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, {14} then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, {15} who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, {16} and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. {17} Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." {18} But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

THREE - Stewardship is responsibility with accountability.

"'God did  not create a people to be servants but to be relatives, sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth' (Is. 43:6).

"He receives little glory from having slaves; He receives tremendous glory from people who willingly serve Him as a manifestation of their relationship to Him. God wants to know if you truly love Him, and He intends to test that love by seeing how you respond to the temptation of money."

Is this a test like the one in Eden, when God said, "That tree is mine - do not touch it."

FOUR - Stewardship demands a commitment to others.

"It is a response to God's goodness to you. Stewardship is not doing something for God with your money, but doing something for others with His money. You act on God's behalf and in His name. The apostle Paul described himself as a slave to everyone."

(1 Corinthians 9:19 NRSV)  For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.

"He said that we should always be seeking the good of others."

(1 Corinthians 10:24 NRSV)  Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.

"Further he told us to look not only to our own interest, but also the interests of others."

(1 Corinthians 10:33 NRSV)  just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

"Our attitude, Paul wrote, should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,

taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness "

(Philemon 2:4-7 NRSV)  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. {5} Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, {6} who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, {7} but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,

"Stewardship is both an expression of your love for God and the realization of that love in your relationships to others."

FIVE - Stewardship has eternal consequences.

"Underlying most of Jesus' instruction is the assumption that your life on earth will prepare you for your future in heaven."

"Stewardship builds heavenly treasure by transferring wealth from your bank account to your heavenly account."

Can you think of a Bible text for this one?

(Matthew 6:19-21 NRSV)  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; {20} but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

But beware of how you read this let us get it in context and read what comes before

(Matthew 6:16-18 NRSV)  "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. {17} But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, {18} so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Though the Luke version fits the idea better.

(Luke 12:32-34 NRSV)  "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. {33} Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. {34} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

"Because God is eternal, He operates in an eternal time frame. Likewise, the actions of God's stewards will have eternal consequences."

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