Sunday  29th March | Sermon

Honouring God  in the 3Ts

LENT 5 

Stewardship : Honouring God in the 3Ts   

Proverbs 3: 9-12,  2 Corinth. 9 :6-15.

 

Last year I preached this same message with a few tweaks on March 24 to our 9.30 am service. Today you the Parish and others perhaps, have the chance to see and reread the sermon, which has benefits. So please read and enjoy. Mind you, if you sleep, I can’t see you. ha ha !  the benefits of a hard copy.  

Just as Giving is a Lifestyle, so too should stewardship be a lifestyle. I have explained in previous sermons the meaning of a steward. In historical England, when castles and realms were the order, the lord owned much land, buildings and the farms, but it was the steward who took care of everything that belonged to the lord. The steward managed the crop rotations, the labour force, the taxes, the banking, the commerce, and any of the lord’s other interests.

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lords and everything in it. If we believe that the earth and everything in it is the Lords, then this helps us understand that you and I as believers, are but stewards or managers of that which belongs to the Lord. We are speaking now about the household of God, and this household of God is not just local it is global my friends. Why because God is not just here  in Hamilton, God ‘s presence is all over the world. 

When we speak about stewardship, we are speaking about Gods creation of the world and everything in it. In Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.”  Adam is the steward of the garden. God entrusted Adam to care for the garden and watch over it. The goal of a steward is to maximize the master’s investment. 

Stewardship is

  • Living this life for God 

  • by caring for all his creation,

  • respecting all, 

  • living harmoniously with all around you

  • so that we are living life to its fullest.
     

If we are living life to its fullest as in John 10:10, then we are doing the will of God. We are not living for ourselves essentially, but for those around us and in particular for the Creator God. Remember we have surrendered our lives to God.(last sermon)

Stewardship should be a way of life. Stewardship is not just about money but encompasses how we look after everything on earth, that we believe belongs to God. We have been assigned each one of us to look after the world and everything in it on God’s behalf.

Do you believe that your car or vehicle belongs to God? That could be a difficult one? What does that mean if we say that this car belongs to the Lord ? First I think it needs to be legal, WOF and Registration, what else ……….. cleaning it, is it tidy,  how are we using it? 

We are only but stewards here, we own nothing. The earth is the Lords and everything in it.  

God’s name can be exalted through you and I, depending on how we manage our time, money and talents in caring for the world and everything in it. Why, because this world is God’s and everything that is in it belongs to the Lord. When humanity comes to grasp that everything is the Lords, and to appreciate our role as stewards on earth, maybe the world would be functioning the way that God wanted it to be, in the first place?  

The principles of tithing are applicable to time, money-treasure and talents. Honour God with your Time, Gifts/talents and your treasure /money. Tithing in the word, is explained in the first testament.

 At that time, there was no currency, people lived off the land, subsistence living, they grew what they ate or it grew wildly around them on the land and in the sea.  

Our history session begins. When God commissioned the Levi tribe of Israel to look after the tabernacle and to provide spiritual leadership for the people, they missed out on the allotment of land. The eleven tribes, were given land once they conquered Canaan, but not the Levites. Instead God instructed the rest of the Israelites to bring tithes of their gain to provide for the priests or the tribe of Levi. 

The word tithe literally means one tenth hence the percentage of 10.  The tithe is 10% of your income/produce, and should be given to God faithfully. Tithing, honours the scriptural principles of generously providing for religious leaders, giving to those in need, and laying up treasures in heaven.

Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to give the first part of our resources to God as an expression of honour and gratitude. “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” Proverbs 3:9–10. 

 

Today, in the 21st century the tithe should be given to the local church where you worship. These gifts support your minister and ministry, staff members who are actively serving you, and they help maintain the mission work of the church in the community and beyond. 

The tithe is a sign of appreciation and trust because it actually belongs to and comes from God. The tithe is not only seen as giving but more so returning. 

 

Our reading from Paul, this morning speaks of a cheerful giver, each of you should give what you have decided in your heart…for God loves a cheerful giver. 

We receive, to share with others and how can we go wrong when God has blessed us with much more than we need. We are to share. This is an extension from the old testament, if we give because it is the law, then we may be giving grudgingly. We may be forced to give, feel obliged. It can even begin to sound like paying rent. 

 

Tithing is a heart matter not a money matter it is part of everything that we are because of what Christ has done for us. Tithing, or giving the first tenth of your income, time & gifts is a scriptural response to honouring the God we serve, in our own lives.  

A major barrier to good stewardship of time talents and treasure, is selfishness, when we think of ourselves first, me, me and me again, or it could be us, us and only us (whoever us may be). It could be our family, community group, our church or our nation. Selfishness can be the result of commercialism, a capitalist society, ignorance, arrogance or an emphasis on earning money and buying things to the detriment of other priorities in life. Priorities such as loving and caring for family, community and the world. 

Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, during this unprecedented COVID 19 lock down, for NZ is telling each of us to do the right thing for the sake of others, not for ourselves, but for others. The Government in their wisdom have put the country in lockdown, for the health and wellbeing of this country specifically, but for the whole world really. NZ doesn’t want to increase the number of fatalities if we can, help it. By self isolating, we are helping the country to contain the virus and not spread. Are you doing this?    

When we as believers understand our responsibility as asset managers, we can gratefully receive what God passes to us and enjoy what He has entrusted to us. But if we start thinking of ourselves as owners, it becomes much harder for us to open our hands (and our hearts) to use Gods talents, gifts and treasures for His purposes.

A Turkish couple, chose another way of celebrating their wedding. They spent the $ 4000.00 they would’ve, on their wedding celebrations by feeding 4000 Syrian refugees. Yes, people in this world are doing amazing things as they care for the household of God. There are many stories of people who have money or wealth, giving and caring for orphans or giving in third world countries. We are not exempt, as donations from this church and the newly formed group “United Christians supporting persecuted Christian refugees.” have contributed towards releasing family members from Detention centers in Thailand. Praise the Lord. 

As believers in the Living God we all need to carry out a stewardship review, from time to time, clergy, leaders, teachers, everyone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Are we honouring God in the 3 Ts? talents, time and treasure?

 

As our parish has been asked to look at our own giving, it is timely, for each one of us to be reminded where our first fruits should go and the reasoning. 

It makes sense for those of us who are earning money to give back to the Lord. Why? because I believe that the Lord provides for me and my family, gave me a job and I want to honour him with a small part of what he has blessed me with. I wish to honour him in my job, by spending time with others and also in the gifts that I believe I have been blessed with from God alone. 

 

For those still looking for work, keep looking, prepare and use this lockdown time to prepare well, search and research online with companies in the same line of work. 

 

Thank you, brothers and sisters, in Christ, to all of you who are using your gifts and talents, time and money to glorify God's name by showing God's love everywhere you go, in many ways, through other groups, in your workplace and in your homes and family gatherings. Thank you also for being part of this church family and for all that you do.

 

Stewardship is a way of life, stemming from the generosity of God’s compassion and in response gratitude for what we have received. Stewardship is hope for the cosmos and sharing the overflow of blessings from God. The expected outcome is the restoration of the Household of God’s creation and life in its fullness for all who dwell in it. 

May we all know the benefits as of good stewardship as we live our lives, especially today

 

 

Rev Alisa Lasi. 

HAMILTON
EAST METHODIST
PARISH

07-856 3940
hameastmeth@xtra.co.nz 

 20 Wellington St, Hamilton East, Hamilton 3216

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