serving as a steward

 

The Lord and I were talking with each other this morning and the conversation went like this …

Thank you, Father, for allowing me to own what I own. I know many own little or nothing. And yet, you’ve allowed me to own clothes, an education, cars, a house (well, that’s a ‘work in progress,’ right?), and …

“… the whole earth belongs to me.” (Exodus 19.5 CEB)

Huh?

“Everything under heaven is mine.” (Job 41.11b CEB)

Even the stuff I can’t see, like the air?

“Clearly, the LORD owns the sky, the highest heavens, the earth, and everything in it.” (Deut. 10.14 CEB)

People, too?

“The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants too.” (Psalm 24.1 CEB)

But Father, I thought I could “give” you things. I want to give you things. Things like my money, my time, and my service.

“… the whole world and everything in it already belong to me.” (Psalm 50.12 CEB)

But, if everything already belongs to you and stuff doesn’t define me, what am I and what am I to do?

“… a servant of Christ who has been given the work of explaining God’s mysterious ways. And … [your] first duty is to be faithful to the one … [you] work for …” (1 Cor. 4:1-2 CEV)

So even my own body I work with …

“You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.” (1 Cor. 6.20 CEB)

Got it. It’s my job to treat everything in this world, including myself, like you own it – because you do – and you’ve just entrusted it to my good care and keeping.

“The earth and all that is in it belong to the Lord.” (1 Cor. 10.26 CEB)

Father, let me own that understanding in every way, big and small!

as we approach a congregational meeting …

 

In just a few minutes, our church will engage in a congregational meeting. The topic on the table is the current state and future of our eldership. The preceding week, I have looked forward to this evening’s meeting and simultaneously, had this past week’s memory verse continually come to mind. That verse is:

“Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Romans 12:11 CEB)

This memory verse and the meeting this evening have converged in my mind and so, gave rise to the following four thoughts. As members and leaders dialogue this evening, might I suggest to myself and to all …

1. “Don’t hesitate.” Which means time must always be a point of true consideration. Let us make the most of this God-given moment to the glory of God and the benefit of Christ’s body. May we respect the use of the body’s time together.

2. “Be enthusiastic.” Together we serve the Great God. He has given to us amazing grace upon grace. He has stooped and sacrificed to include each of us in his family and purpose. He it is who daily enables us to reflect his holiness. These are things truly worth getting excited about.

3. “Be on fire in the Spirit.” Let us make certain any “fire” within us, or coming from us, comes from, and respects, God’s Spirit. Scripture is not silent as to what our God thinks of “unauthorized fire.”

4. “Serve the Lord.” Let us all remember our place. None of us are masters; all of us are servants. Our way is not to please ourselves, but to please our Lord. To please him is our top priority and is to be our truly good pleasure.

Amen. And amen.

“Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Romans 12:11 CEB)

word for the weak (5)

 

Stewardship: noun; the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.

Stewardship is the theme of the texts that make up this week’s reading in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project. Following is the schedule we’ll use in our reading this week.

The verse of Scripture to memorize and make your own this week is Psalm 90:12, which reads:

Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart. (Psalm 90:12 CEB)

this went thru my mind

 

20-Somethings: The Religious Views of 20-Somethings (parts one, two, and three) by Brandon J. O’Brien

“… those students who do consider themselves religious—most of them Christians—saw their religious beliefs having very little impact on their personal or professional goals.”

Communion: The Argument for Excluding Wine from the Lord’s Supper by John Mark Hicks

“Interestingly, the extended argument was needed and pushed by the Temperance Movement because churches generally, until very recently, had all used wine in the Lord’s Supper.”

Criticism: Criticism by Joshua Graves

“If you have the gift of criticism and gossip, you should consider what this says about the state of your own emotional health and the toll others are paying for your anxiety, toxicity.”

Depression: Depression and Serotonin

“One after another, the experts grant that there is no real evidence linking depression to low serotonin. Amazingly, they justify the propagation of the ‘low serotonin story’ simply because it is easy to understand. In other words, it doesn’t have to be true to be helpful.”

God: All Religions Are Not One

“I am for tolerance, but tolerance isn’t ignorance. Tolerance doesn’t equate to pretending differences don’t exist. Tolerance falls short of its own goal–both in inter-religious and inter-racial dialogue.”

Grief: Good Grief (parts one, twothreefourfivesixseveneight, the way of gracepost mortem & sermon on earthen vessels) by Ben Witherington

“When a person suffers the devastating loss of a loved one, you should — however well-intentioned you might be — keep your mouth shut. Or at the very least, you should think long and hard before you say anything. Here are some of the things I recently heard that did not help, and frankly were not true.”

Marriage: What I’ve Learned After Being Married for 33 Years by Jim Martin

“I knew very little about marriage when we began. At this point in life, I am still learning.”

Parenting: * 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters by Michael Mitchell; * Should We Read Our Kids’ Texts? by Jonathan McKee (thank you, Adam Marshall, for pointing me to this article!)

“… to all you Dads out there – be sure you pay close attention and heed these wise words …”

“I agree with all my parents’ guidelines except the one about them being able to read my texts at any time. I’m not gonna do that one with my kids when I’m a parent.”

Personal preferences: Scripture and Our Druthers by Timothy Archer

“It’s time to take the ‘I feel’s and ‘I like’s and put them in a drawer. It’s time to seek what’s best for the body as a whole.”

Reading: How to Read a Book by Chad Hall

“For several years I’ve used a method I call the “Reading Pyramid,” which provides five categories of reading. Perhaps it will be helpful for you. Here goes …”

Time management: The Biggest Myth in Time Management by Peter Bregman

“The idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management.”