This is a message I gave to the junior high and high school ladies of one28, our student ministry. If you want to hear me speak the message, you can go to: http://www.one28ministries.org/2008/04/16/stewardship-time-temple-and-treasure/
The title of this message is “Stewardship: Time, Temple (which is another word for your body), and Treasure (money).” This message should be a fairly practical, and, Lord willing, applicable message.
We’ll begin with a definition of stewardship. According to Webster’s Dictionary, stewardship is “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” I really like that, “something entrusted to one’s care.” I think about when someone has entrusted me with their children to watch for awhile. When I am watching their children, I am on a greater alert with them because they are not my own children, and I desperately don’t want anything to happen to them. I would feel awful if something did. Obviously, I would feel totally awful if something bad happened to my girls, but because these other children belong to someone else, I feel like I have an even higher responsibility and obligation to care for them. What if we looked at EVERYTHING we “own” and looked at it all through the perspective that it is God’s and not our own? Would we handle these things differently? God has entrusted us with many things to manage such as our homework, time, our bodies, money, other people, and the list goes on…. The question is, how are we caring for the things with which He has entrusted us? We will come back to this when we talk about the third point, Treasure.
One can say that stewardship is a passion of mine, and it started with the stewardship of money, as you will hear in my following example. Then stewardship started translating into other parts of my life as I grew as a Christian. Maybe stewardship is so important to me because when my sister and I were growing up, we didn’t have many extras, never ate out besides McDonalds and maybe upgraded to Dairy Queen for our birthdays. Before I was in elementary school, we spent about a year living at my grandparents house on their floor, my mom, dad, sister and myself. Our weekly outing when I was in elementary school was going to the Lynnwood Goodwill to see the bargains. I remember my dad being really excited when the weekly bargain was that all sweaters were on sale for $.10. My dad is still very much a Goodwill shopper, and taught me by example how to treat $ like we don’t have any. So that’s a little about my background.
If you have a relationship with Christ, and have given Him your heart, you will want to make sure that you are being good stewards with all that the Lord has entrusted to you. These principles should be an outpouring of your relationship with Christ. We should be good stewards because we love the Lord, and not because doing any good works is going to get us to heaven, because it won’t.
There are so many points that I could talk about, and I am sure that I am only scratching the surface, but here we begin.
What does God say about stewardship? Turn in your Bible to Ephesians chapter 5, verse 11. This passage really struck me. Listen to hear if you can find the implications of what we should be doing with specifically, our time, temple, and treasure.
Ephesians 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness (maybe this is talking about how we spend our time?), but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine (maybe this is talking about how to handle our temples, our bodies), for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things (maybe this is talking about what we treasure) in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Now let’s look at the 3 points, time, temple, and treasure, and we’ll start with time.
God has entrusted us with:
How do you spend your time? What does your typical day look like? If you were to write out your day, what you do minute by minute, what would you see? Are you spending an excessive amount of time in front of the TV? Playing video games? In front of the mirror? Texting and on the phone? On the computer? Are we spending the time we need in the Word of the Lord and prayer? Are we volunteering or serving? Ephesians 5:15-16 says this, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ladies, are we making the most of our time?
Time in God’s Word and prayer is a great place to start. It is not a cure-all. Our lives won’t be free of problems if we read His Word and/or pray, but these things ground us, and center us on Him. It helps put our focus on the Lord and others, and not ourselves. Being grounded in the Lord daily by reading His Word and praying helps us to fear God and keep His commandments, as this is the whole duty of man (Ecc. 12:13).
Turn to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Those verses explain that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Ladies, are you taking time to equip yourselves daily by being in the Word?
This next Scripture applies to moms and future moms, especially. Turn to Deuteronomy Chapter 11.
11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Moms, as we go about our day, are we teaching our children the Word even in the mundane parts of life as we eat and walk and talk?
As far as prayer goes, I have a few verses to share. Turn to Romans 12. Romans 12:12 in the NIV says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray continually.” If you want to get started on memorizing scripture, that might be a really good one because it is so short:) “Pray continually!”
Are you serving your parents, siblings and neighbors? Are you selfish with your time and only want to spend it in, what you see as, gain for yourselves? Are you spending too much time away at a friend’s house or the mall, and not spending enough time with your families? Ladies, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with having a little down time and relaxing or something, but is it excessive? Going back to Romans 12, verses 10-11 say “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Ladies, when you serve others, you are serving the Lord. Skipping to verse 13, are we taking some time “”[to]share with God’s people who are in need. [And] Practice hospitality”?
So ask yourself, am I making the most with the time God has given me?
So first, God has entrusted us with time, and second, God has also entrusted us with our temples which are our bodies.
Ladies, how are you doing at taking care of your temples of God? Are you keeping your thoughts pure? Are you exercising regularly? Are you eating right, or are you eating an excessive amount of sweets and junk? Or are you just eating too much or too little?
Romans chapter 12 is one of my favorite chapters. Let’s look at the first 2 verses this time. Romans 12:1-2 says,
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, helping you to make right choices. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” This means that we should keep ourselves morally pure, our bodies pure, and thoughts pure. We should keep our bodies covered properly by covering what should be covered and not giving our spiritual brothers something to stumble over. We should care for our bodies with exercising and not putting a lot of junk into them.
Ladies, food can actually be a huge stumbling block. 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 says “whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.” This verse can really hit home. We should think when we are eating am I glorifying God by putting this in my mouth?
Here is the practical application for me, and it will probably look different for you. For me this means we try to eat fruits and veggies but we still seem to never eat enough. We try to eat at home most of the time and not eat out. We are trying to limit our intake of transfats, and high fructose corn syrup and trying to not eat as many processed or prepackaged foods.
I know this next part sounds dumb, but maybe some of you can relate, so I will share. This is a practical example, perhaps. About 5 years ago, I started eating until I felt satisfied, not full. There is a difference. When we are full, we feel like we are going to pop. I eat until I feel satisfied, not until I am packed up to here. It’s so easy to want to take another bite when it’s right in front of us. But try to resist the temptation, and save it for later. My husband says when we eat out, he’ll be much happier the next day if he saves some of his meal so he can enjoy it 2 days instead of one. If he eats until he’s stuffed, then he won’t get to enjoy it again, and may really regret it later. My high school choir director told me that we gain weight when we are cleaning up the dishes after dinner and see a few more bites in this bowl or that plate that we don’t want to go to waste or don’t want to store for later. That’s when we put on the excess calories which then translates to excess weight. So remember, whatever you eat or drink, whatever you do, glorify God. Think, am I glorifying God taking these lasts 5 bites left on my plate when I am stuffed all the way up my esophagus already?
Anyway, I do LOVE desserts!!! What I used to do in college was tell myself I can’t eat ANY dessert until I do 100 sit-ups, so I was TOTALLY faithful in doing my sit-ups everyday because I wanted to eat my special treat each day. Moderation is what we are looking for.
As far as exercise is concerning I try to meet consistently with different ladies to go walking or running every weekday. I am accountable to them to exercise, and an added bonus is the fellowship (which is actually much more important to me than the exercising).
And ladies, there are a few more areas I want to mention but don’t have time to go into detail. Here are some areas to think about. What are we putting into our minds? Are we thinking about a boy excessively, that we would really like to date? Are we thinking positive thoughts of this girl or that girl, or are we gossiping? Are you keeping your temples sexually pure? 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 says,
It is God’s will (by the way, I love to know God’s will) that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
But that’s a message in and of itself. Then in 1 Corinthians 9:27 it says, “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Ladies, don’t disqualify yourselves from receiving the prize of being with Christ eternally by making rash moves.
Again, remember this Scripture, from 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.” So the big question is, are you glorifying God with your temple?
So are we being a good steward first with our time, and second with our temple? The third and last main point of the evening is are we being a good steward with #3, the treasure God has entrusted to us, money?
On what are we spending our money? Are we thinking of our money as a gift from the Lord to use as His, or are we thinking like a greedy 2 year-old-would and think “Mine”? Ladies, as soon as you have an allowance or get your first job or have an allowance, you should be giving some of the money the Lord has given to you back to His church. We need to give. I challenge you to give 10% to the Lord. The earlier you start the better and easier it is to give back the money to the Lord.
If we were to open your checkbook (for those of you who have one), or look at all the receipts of your recent purchases, what would we see? Would we see foolish, indulgent purchases? Would we see lots of expenditures based on want or would they all be, quote, needs? Are we generous in our gift giving or do we hoard?
What kind of perspective do we have with our money and material goods? Matthew 6 talks about our treasure. Please open your Bibles to Matthew 6 verses 19-21 and 24.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is earthly material treasures, especially money. Make sure you have the right perspective about money. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want it to consume your thoughts, but you don’t want to be flippant about it, either.
Here is another Scripture passage from Luke 16 regarding stewardship.
Luke 16:1-13 is the Parable of the Dishonest Manager.
1 Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Ladies, the concept is very true, if you can’t be trusted with little, when you have abundance, than when you gain much, it will be as hard or harder to control than when you have little.
Practically speaking, I shop sales, looking through the ads, cutting coupons, comparing prices at different stores. I know where to get the perishables every week we need at the lowest prices around. I do shop multiple store, which may be annoying to some, but instead of spending two hours at one store, I spend two hours going to three or four stores and getting a few things at each place. It saves a lot of money. I don’t buy when I need things; I buy when things are on sale. I buy the sale items we will use, and rarely buy things when we “need” them. If you buy things when you need them, then you typically pay at least double for them. I try to find things at or below a certain target price in my mind and wait. I decide what to make based on what we have and not because I am wanting to make a certain recipe. I keep what I know I will use in the house. In the fall I averaged my grocery bill for our family for 6 weeks, and it was $42/week. It is probably more now with inflation and the price of food going up, but anyway, I would love to talk more about this with people individually, as I know I am only scratching the surface and it may bore others.
As I close ladies, ask yourselves, how am I caring for the things in which the Lord has entrusted me? First, am I spending my time wisely? Second, am I taking care of my temple? And third, am I treating my treasure the way the Lord would want me to?