Some of the material used in this lesson is taken from the book entitled "The Treasure Priciple"
Once, when my mother was facing emergency open heart surgery, I had to borrow my friend's car and drive seventeen hours to the hospital. On the return trip the check engine light came on. This was the last thing I wanted to worry about. But I took it to a mechanic and figured out what needed to be repaired, had the oil changed, washed and vacuumed the car, and filled it with gas.
I was so grateful for my friend's generosity. The car wasn't mine, so I wanted to return it to its owner in better condition than I received it.
1. Have you ever borrowed something and had it break? How did you feel? What did you do?
2. How do you think my friend would have felt if I had just returned the car dirty, broken, and with an empty gas tank?
3. If God owns everything, and we are just "borrowing" it, how do you think He wants us to care for what He has entrusted to us?
4. What do the following verses have to say about God's ownership?
The boy is not a criminal!
The writer of James gives us a very vivid picture of what happens when we are not content.
1. We fight an inward battle.
2. We live in conflict with others.
3. We face disappointment.
Take time to watch this video clip and answer the following questions.
1. What do you think Opie was thinking as he watched his friend throw a temper tantrum?
2. Who all was effected by the boy's selfish actions?
3. How do you think God responds when we become selish with what he has given us?
The Andy Griffith Show - Opie And The Spoiled Kid
It's nice to share...
The story of the widow's gift is profoundly convicting.
1. What was Jesus really trying to say here?
2. Couldn't God get by without the widow's two pennies? How does the principle that God owns everything apply in this story?
3. When is it most difficult for you to be generous?
4. The rich people were giving so they would be noticed. Why do you think the widow gave?
5. Watch the following video and discuss the different aspects of generosity.
|Andy, Opie, and Horatio|
Practicing Every Day Stewardship
Stewardship questions for every day life....
1. How do I feel when someone borrows something and fails to return it?
2. Does God care about recycling?
3. What should I do when the man at the corner asks for money?
4. Does God care what college I attend?
5. Should I give money to my church? How much? How often?
6. Does it matter what time I wake up in the morning?
7. When should I change the oil in my car?
8. Is it ok to buy a bigger house?
9. Should I go on this next mission trip?
10. Does God have the answer to these questions?
God Owns Everything
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
"Zig Ziglar, a popular motivational speaker, tells the story of a farmer who sat listening to a sermon on tithing. The preacher talked about how God owned everything, but the farmer disagreed.
After the service, the farmer invited the preacher out to his farm for dinner. Following the meal, the farmer and the preacher took a walk outside. The farmer made a point of showing the preacher around his place. He showed him his house, barn, tool shed, and finished by pointing out his crops. Then he asked the preacher; 'I've worked all my life on this land. Do you mean to tell me that it's not my land, but it's the Lord's land?'
The preacher thought about this for a moment and then responded. 'Ask me the same question a hundred years from now.' --The Tithing Principle; Understanding Why we Give--Tom Felder
The first principle of Christian stewardship is that we cannot take it with us. But, we can send it ahead. All the material goods we accumulate here on earth will be left behind when we die. Therefore our goal should be to "lay up treasures in heaven."
The second principle is that God owns everything. In fact, the very definition of a steward is " a person who administers the property, house, finances, etc, of another." --World English Dictionary--
The Bible makes it very clear. He is the owner. We are just the managers. If we were to truly take the ownership principle to heart, we may see some drastic transformations take place. Selfishness would turn to generosity. Worry would turn into contentedness. And our sense of entitlement would turn into gratitude.
A distraught horseman rode up to give John Wesley with news that his house had just burned to the ground. To which Wesley replied, "No, the Lord's house burned to the ground. That means one less responsibility for me." (Randy Alcorn) Wesley was not trying to ignore the facts. He simply had a different perspective. If God owns everything, then what He does with it is His business.
James 4:1-3 describes the opposite extreme: "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."
It appears as if Christians have a choice to make. We can learn to be content with life, or we can seek after things we do no need; missing out completely on the abundant life of contentment that God has in mind for us.
"As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "Truly I tell you," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)
Place this woman into today's economy. She is a single mother. There is no money for food. Her children need shoes to wear to school. The landlord is threatening to kick her out on the street. The electric has been turned off and the weather is growing colder. She goes to her money jar and sees two small copper coins. You can't buy anything for two pennys.
She is at the end of her rope. There's nothing else to lose. So what does she do? By faith, she walks to the church and drops what little is left into the offering plate. Jesus noticed. And then the story stops.
Did God bless her for her generosity? We don't know. Was the electricity miraculously turned back on? The Bible doesn't say. Did a neighbor bring some extra food to hold her over for a few days? It's never mentioned.
If I were God, I'd make sure readers for generations to come knew that this woman was rewarded well for her generosity.That she was paid back one hundred times more than what she gave. Instead, Jesus uses her story of generosity to make a point. "You give out of your abundance, But this woman gave all she had." This woman took generosity to a whole new level.
God owns everything and He has given us responsibility to manage it: He has entrusted us with the care of all that belongs to Him. He has placed us in a management position over His resources. Now that's a lot of pressure!
According to the parable found in Matthew 25, God gives us each a certain amount of responsibility and He is counting on us to manage His resources well. He expects us to make the best of it. The cliche says that this includes our time, our talents, and our treasures.
Bob Sjorgren and Gerald Robison wrote a magnificent book entitled Cat & Dog Theology
. In it the authors write: "A dog says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.' A cat says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.'
It is not enough for Christians to see God as the provider. They must see Him as "The Provider". This principle of stewardship is founded on the assumption that we must be completely devoted to God before we can be good stewards of what He has given.
We do not serve God or practice good stewardship so we can get what we want. We do these things so we can give God what He wants. The question you must answer is, "What does God want?"