ANGELIC INSPIRATIONS - In Your presence is fullness of joy...Ps. 16: 11
Stewardship and Thanksgiving
Matt. 10:8; 19:21; Luke 6:38; 12:33; Acts 2:42-47, 15; 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:7
 
What are you holding on to?
 
Stewardship/Thanksgiving:  “Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.”  It is managing everything God brings into the believer's life in a manner that honors God and impacts eternity.  Stewardship begins and ends with the understanding of God’s ownership of all people and all things :-).
 
Several Scriptures verify this: 
  1.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)· 
  2. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”  (Psalm 24:1)      
  3. “To God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.”  (Deuteronomy 10:14)·        
  4. “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.”  (Leviticus 25: 23)·        
  5. "Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41: 11)
 
Stewardship includes time, tithe, and gifts offered to God by the believer.  These gifts are offered to God in thanksgiving for the love God continuously gives to us.  I have summarized time, talent, and treasures as all of these are attributed to stewardship. 
 
Stewardship and Thanksgiving go hand and hand in that when one is a good steward of his time, talents and treasures, we receive blessings of thanksgiving.  (Thankful heart=blessings of joy, peace, contentment, etc.)
 
I.  Time:  Matthew: 10:8:  Freely you have received, freely give:  God blesses us when we give our time to Him. The kingdom of heaven involves ministering to the lost:
  1. Jesus instructed the disciples to minister to both the spiritual and the physical needs of the lost. (Put your money where your mouth is) This is a lesson for the church not to hide behind the walls. (John the Baptist message…3:2), (Jesus’ message 4:17) (Jesus had given the disciples  His own authority 10:1), the authority he had received from the Father. 
  2. The disciples were to go to the lost sheep of Israel (15:24) because the kingdom message was for God’s covenant people.  She needed to accept her King, who had arrived. 
  3. The message would be authenticated by miracles (Matt. 10:8; 9:35).  “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.” This was a sign to Israel that the Messiah had come and that they would have a chance to receive Him. 
  4. Freely you have received, freely give:  (Sacrificial giving is giving not expecting anything in return) Although giving God somehow finds it necessary to return to us in abundance when we give from our hearts: Luke 6:38
 
II.  Talent:  Matt. 25:14-30 (Being faithful with what you have according to your abilities)
  • The first two servants faithfully invested their talents; and they were blessed with more wealth, additional responsibilities, and they shared their master’s joy. 
  • The third servant:  should have invested his talent, but instead of investing he hid the responded with fear and excuses.  "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7  There are problems with the way church exists today.  There are too many ministries in the body to give the appearance that something is going on, but these ministries are often unkempt. There is no return from these ministries. Many ministries have lost love for service and there is:
1.       No outreach to the lost
2.       No outreach to the sick
3.       No outreach to the poor
4.       No outreach to prisoners
5.       No outreach to the young or old
We are here to serve our master and if there is no return, we must consider discontinuing specific ministries and replacing them with one of the above ministries may need to combine with another so that God's kingdom will be effective.  There are many churches in but have no real vision, therefore God is not being served/glorified. Pro. 29:18:  Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: In these building,  people are bickering more than serving.  "Where the kingdom is not benefiting, many churches will forfeit their rewards." June Hunt
 
Forfeited Eternal Rewards:
"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12)
 
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
(Taken from June Hunt's biblical counseling keys)
 
III.  Treasure:  Matthew 19:21:  Sell what you have and give to the poor (The heart of the matter)
Story>Here is a young, wealthy ruler who asked Jesus what good thing he must do to gain eternal life? Jesus responded with "only ONE is good (Perfect).  Jesus then answers the wealthy ruler: 
1.   Jesus says the commandments: (Which ones? The young ruler says, I've done everything I could possibly do, I've never hurt anyone; I've gone to church every Sunday; I've paid my tithes; I've served faithfully in my local church; etc., you get the idea.  
2.       What do I still lack, says the ruler?  Jesus said:  Vs. 21:  If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.  
At this point, the young ruler was grieved in spirit because he had owned an abundance;  his heart wasn’t in the right place, he realized that Jesus was asking too much of him.  He couldn’t possibly give up everything he dreamed of having for a lifetime.   Money and possessions can be distracting if we’re not focused on our eternal perspective. 
3.       Luke 12:32- 34:  Jesus tells the disciples not to fear the cost of giving up everything (possessions) on earth because the treasure they will receive in heaven is far more costly than that on earth.  Jesus is saying, if you give up the materialism of this world, you won’t have to worry about thieves stilling and moths rotting.  If you have nothing, you lose nothing.  Many of us can alleviate our stress and anxieties if we fully gave all to the Lord. 
 
Lord, help us to cast all of our time, talents and treasures upon you knowing that you own every part of our being.  Help us to trust your guidance and your providential care...In Jesus' we ask, AMEN!
 
Encourage and Be Encouraged!

Resources used:  Bible Knowledge Commentary, Teacher's Critical Commentary, and June Hunt's Biblical Counseling Keys