Five reasons why preaching on stewardship is vital to the growth of the church
By Stan Toler
Imagine being invited to dinner at the home of a friend or relative. You sit at a table decorated as if it were the cover of an interior design magazine. The entrée is carefully brought to the table. Grace is offered. The crescent rolls are being passed. And suddenly you noticed that your host has forgotten the silverware. Everything is in place except the eating utensils.
Preaching is biblically inclusive
Likewise, a preaching schedule is not complete without “stewardship utensils.” Instruction in the wise stewardship of time, talents, treasure, and touch is a vital part of the spiritual dinner experience. There are over 2,300 references to money and possessions in the Word of God. At the same time prayer is only mentioned 500 times. Is that an excuse for abandoning a series on prayer? Absolutely not! Nor will faithful “stewards” of the gospel abandon the “ship” of stewardship. Gospel preaching is biblically inclusive.
Review is Necessary
In one sense, preaching the great doctrines and practical life principles of the Bible is a lot like teaching multiplication tables: Review is necessary. That’s why I repeat those biblical truths year after year—in sermon after sermon. When I plan the annual “menu” for “spiritual dinners” at my church, I make sure that a series on stewardship is included as a main course.
In particular, there are at least five reasons why I feel it is important to preach a stewardship series:
1. I must be a faithful steward of the gift of God’s Word myself.
My own stewardship makes demands of me. Not only am I obligated to practice God’s Word, I am obligated to preach it—to use the spiritual gifts given to me in gifting others. So, my preaching on the wise and holy use of God’s resources is simply an outgrowth of my personal experience. For instance, I have personally discovered the blessing of giving. I simply can’t keep that a secret!
2. My congregants need the stewardship series.
They live in a consumer driven society that is often motivated by greed or gain. They’ve been taught that their money is simply that: “their” money. That is far removed from biblical teaching, however: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Ps. 24:1). I preach a stewardship series to emphasize the eternal benefits of giving over the temporal benefits of gaining. By teaching people to manage their lives by managing its individual components (including finances), I have taught them how to be a victor instead of a victim of their times.
I have a spiritual obligation to protect the flock from the wolves of worldliness—to free their mind, their spirit from the chains of secular materialism. Stephen Wilson pastors a congregation of nearly 2,000 in Greeley, Colorado. He says he preaches an annual stewardship series because, “It is one aspect of a person’s faith that most obviously expresses their trust in God.” He adds that he doesn’t want people to miss out on the blessings that are a part of it.
3. I have determined that a church focused on the faithful management of God’s resources will eventually see the need for reaching out to others.
Yes, I believe that a giving church is a growing church! Members who discover the need for using their spiritual gifts of evangelism, for instance, are also prone to discover their “gifts of giving.” And, as an added blessing, a growing church grows its pastor along with it! My own spiritual growth is enhanced when I see the members of my church using their resources in a God-ordained, soul-winning way. God will bless people that are committed to obeying him.
4. I know that an annual stewardship series will reap a great harvest of benefits in the lives of those who grasp the concept.
It is a biblical promise—a cycle of victorious living: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Lu. 6:38).
5. It creates a joyful environment.
Parishioners who respond obediently to the truths of your stewardship sermons are people who experience greater joy in worship. That is evidenced in David’s psalm of praise: “They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” (Psalm 145:6-7). Victorious Christians are obedient Christians.
I like the story of the little boy who wanted to take part in the communion service which followed the Sunday morning offering. When told by his mother that he was too young to take communion, the eager participant whispered loud enough to be heard five rows back, “Why not? I just paid for it, didn’t I?” We give because we have received. From the vaults of God’s grace, we are the benefactors. It is our constant privilege to not only express our thanksgiving by our own stewardship; it is also our privilege to teach others to make their own expressions of thanksgiving.
Copyright © 2012 by Stan A. Toler
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