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The Meaning of Stewardship
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Posted by: admin on Wed, Mar 8, 2017
what is your calling for??
The Meaning of Stewardship
Do you have what it takes to be a good steward? Webster's dictionary defines steward as someone who takes charge of another's property or affairs. This is often true, as far as Christianity is concerned.
Today I would like to talk to you a little about stewardship and share some Biblical input about what it means to be a steward for God. After you read this, if you shouls decide whether or not you are ready for this task at hand, more power to you. Good luck in the path you wish to follow.
Part one: Fellow Citizens
A man from an English-speaking country once visited Rome and supposedly said he enjoyed the sights. What he didn't realize there were many other foreigners there as well, although some were regular inhabitants. Every country, of course, has foriegners in its midst. Their presence is sometimes requested, unless they are tourists who bring business and then return home.
First-century Christians in the Roman Empire were regarded as disloyal and dangerous because they refused to offer incense to the deified Roman emperor. They were even regarded as obnoxious foreigners, but it was all a mistake. Christ and his apostles taught their followers to be obedient, tax-paying citizens, rendering to Caesar what was his. They must, however, obey God rather than man when the government enacts laws contrary to God's word.
While functioning as good citizens in the land, Christians are always citizens of a kingdom that supersedes all kingdoms, the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This latter is a kingdom of grace in which sins are forgiven to all who have faith in Christ the reconciler. It is a kingdom in which all believers, regardless of their station in the world are equal (see Ephesians 2:13-20).
Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ and are one. No one will claim, here in Christendom on Earth nor in Heaven above, as the visitor in Rome supposedly did. Ther are too many foreigners here, and all are fellow citizens in Christ's kingdom.
Part two: When God blesses Cities
The Bible speaks of two cities that disappeared from the face of the Earth by fire and brimstone, Sodom and Gomorrah. They will never appear again since the Dead Sea covers the sites. St. Jude writes that they perished because of "sexual immorality and perversion" (see Jude 7). St. Peter, however, adds that God "made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (see 2 Peter 2:6)". Unlike Brigadoon, they were not imaginary cities but were very real. They were real in their sinfulness and God's judgement on them.
In a certain sense, Sodom and Gomorrah live on, not only because the Bible, but their sins continue in other cities. Jesus said in Matthew 11:21-24 that Capernaum, Korazin, and Bethsaida were awaiting a greater sin than that of Tyre and Sidon, and Sodom amd Gomorrah, because they rejected the ministry of the very Son of God.
St. Paul writes to the Corinthians that the scriptures were written for our learning and warning. We are not to repeat the sins that displease God and arouse his anger. Sodom and Gomorrah are long gone, but some of their sister cities live on in the self-same iniquties.
Part three: Helping the Helpers
Human drama recalls a certain St. Louis man being buried alive when the ground collapsed, and firefighters and paramedics worked for many hours to free him. Something similar happened one day when Jesus sent out 72 disciples to preach and heal in towns where he himself would come. The people in these towns were in a desparate situation like the man under the collapsed ground. Jesus had sent a large group of disciples as a rescue team. They were helpers of the needy. They had helped those who needed food and drink, gracious hospitality, and an expression of peace. These helpers were the families who welcomed the disciples into their home.
To this day, God provides both the evangelists and the people who give them supprt. The latter back up Christ's workers with prayer and gifts, with hospitality and spiritual support. These are necessary and appreciated by our Lord's rescue forces. One may wonder how much free hospitality the early settlers in this country gave the horseback missionaries who came to them on the praries and forests primeval. Without such help, the pioneer pastors and teachers could not have done their work. As Jesus said to his workmen in Mark 9:41, "Anyone who gives a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ, will certainly not loose his reward". The small favors count when faith is done.
Part four: What we have in Heaven
It is often hard for us to visualize the situation in Heaven. In Revelation, St. John draws back the draperies and gives us a glimpse into Heaven. He calls it the New Jerusalem, the celestial city. It does not need what earthly cities find necessary. It does not need sun or moon, much less electric lights, for God gives it light. As stated in Revelation 21:22, the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple, and that no edifaces for worship are needed. You won't even find stores, food kitchens, hunger or thirst, nor hospitals or mortuaries. Heaven no knows no sickeness nor death.
What does Heaven have to offer us in abundance? Much of this is told in picture language. Rivers there flow as crystal, and all its beauty and fruitfulness is in the tree of life. Jesus states in John14:2 that "In my father's house are many rooms". This is rather comforting and assuring, Heaven is indeed like a beautiful home where there is room for everyone, how we get there is another story.
Part five: Citizens of Heaven
The Bible tells us how the Israelites entered the Promised Land, and it was not easy. The journey took over 40 years, and they encountered many hardships in the desert. Their greatest challenge came when the fortress city of Jericho had to be taken. Then the land had to be conquered. This is also true for those coming to America to make betters lives for themselves.
The real "promised land" is neither Canaan or the United States, but a heavenly country toward which they are striving and in whcih thay are citizens already. St. Paul declares that "our citizenship is in Heaven." In Philippians 3:20, he says it is the home where we eagerly await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The key question here is this: How doe get admitted into Heaven? Must we have a "green card" and pass many tests? Or must we make an arduos journey through the wilderness of the world before we can gain and entrance? St. Paul clearly states that "By grace you have been saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8)". That is to say that the faith we rely on completely is the saving merit of Jesus Christ. (for another blessed result, read Romans 5:1). Spiritually speaking, there is for us no wilderness to cross, no Jericho to conquer, nor and Ellis Island to pass through. We are already citizens of Heaven and our names are already recorded in the book of life.
Part six: Personal Commitment
Jesus pointed out a serious inconsistency in the lives of the spiritual leaders of his time in Matthew 23:2-3. It was also the concern of the Apostle Paul to subject himself to the same truths of God's word that he was teaching to the members of his young congregations. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "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".
This is the main concern of every faithful pastor and teacher in Christendom. Christ's representatives in the church realize that they teach by personal example as much as by their words. What they are is often more eloquent than their spoken words. Their Christian life is important. It expresses the personal obedience of those who teach us to accept God's word, that both the Law and Gospel promises.
Christ's love always constrain and prompt us to help those who are spiritually lost. It is that love that brought God's son down from Heaven to give His life for the salvation of all.
The scriptures also teach that communities where righteousness preavils, that God is both honored and blessed. All truths written in the Bible give us endurance, encouragement, and hope because they bear witness to Jesus Christ.
If the question of what we need in Heaven is unimportant, there is one question of utmost importance, How do we get there? The Bible fully and clearly answers it. Jesus said that he is the way to the father and that he reconciled us to God. He removed every obstacle and paved the way. Believing in him as the savior gives us eternal life, but you must be ready for it. So is you have not already done so, please take the time to consider your future in Heaven and what you will inherit when (or if) you get there. Make a personal commitment today to follow Christ and I guaranty you will be glad you know him. God bless us one and all!
written by E. Strunk
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