"Much Will Be Demanded..."
Genesis 2:8-9, 15
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
“Much will be demanded…”
Today’s message marks a departure from messages here at Springville over the last many years
I have been told by more than one person that we have not had a stewardship campaign for a long time
Therefore, no one has preached on stewardship
I will be preaching on stewardship, not just today, but for the next two weeks, as well
Why was this not in last week’s bulletin?
Quite honestly, I did not want to put another reason out there to skip church for the next three weeks
Quite honestly, we are not going to be talking about money for the next three weeks
Because stewardship involves more than just money
Make no mistake, there will be a sermon about giving of our financial treasure
And there will be a sermon about giving of the talents that God has bestowed upon us
But today, we cover the basics of stewardship, and the giving of our time
Type “stewardship” into Google and I got “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property” …with no original source listed
So, the word “stewardship” is about much more than the financial side of a church
Those of you with children show “stewardship” toward your children
And I don’t need to tell you that that type of stewardship involves more than money
Don’t get me wrong, money in involved, but there is a lot more to it
Just like it takes more than money to run a church
The Greek word for stewardship is “oikonomia”
From “oikos” for household and “nomos” for law or rule
In other words, house rules or house processes
And the steward of the house was usually not the patriarch, but a slave
Responsible for making sure the house rules were followed
Where do our stewardship responsibilities come from?
Genesis 2:15… “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”
Our being God’s stewards is BIBLICAL…God’s plan…the plan we cannot possibly understand
In other words, we, God’s subjects, were charged by God, the Master, to care for the Master’s stuff
In Genesis, that is everything in the Garden of Eden
As the world developed, that means we are stewards of a whole lot more
To reinforce this message, Jesus taught many parables where a servant was responsible for the master’s property…and the servant was accountable to the master
And we, God’s servants here on Earth, are still accountable to God…for what you ask?
Our gifts: The time, talents and treasure he gifts us with on a daily basis
Our bodies, our spouses, our children & families, our friends, Earth’s natural resources, etc.
Jesus taught us to manage what we receive…hopefully wisely, for our good and the common good
Because in order to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, we need the fruits of successful management of our resources…to give from the abundance…to love one another in a tangible way
And that includes supporting Christ’s work in the world
The spreading of the Good News via the church
Let me be clear…we are all unworthy and undeserving of these gifts
Ephesians 2:8-9 says this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We get God’s gifts via his grace…the love of God because he wants us to have things
Not because we have earned it…we can never earn the magnitude of love that God has for us
Something else that is a mystery…
So what is this grace of which we speak?
Some say it is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
Bishop Kenneth Carder says this: “Grace is God’s presence and power to create, heal, forgive, reconcile, and transform persons, communities, nations, and the entire cosmos. INCLUDES CHURCHES -JCN Where God is present there is grace, God’s power to renew and transform.”
Stewards need grace, because they are called to renew and transform as guided by the Holy Spirit
We are the stewards of this church
We are called to renew and transform it
You may be thinking…What is wrong with this church?
It’s comfortable to me…It’s friendly…It’s been here a long time…and so on and so on
But people have come and people have gone
And the world around us has changed, too
The entertainment along US-12 used to be thriving
Not so much these days
We used to need three services here…had a bunch of kids in a youth group…weekly activities
Not so much these days
Used to have 40 plus people/names involved on church committees
But we changed things to make our current congregation numbers work
Today, we have 12 spots, plus a pastor…and we have 10 filled, with 1 person interested
And we will have 2 open spots, maybe more, by year’s end
We need help!
You say that you did your time…serving years ago?
You say that you are too busy during the week?
You ask, what could I possibly have to add?
Our Administrative Board meets once a month…once a month…last Tuesday at 6:30 PM
We do maybe 6 major events a year
Furthermore, I see the same people carrying food in every week
I see the same faces cleaning up every week
That kind of a system might work at Grandma’s house
But this needs to be a house of servant leaders
If things don’t change, we will burn people out
We need fresh blood…fresh ideas for managing this church
Research on high performing teams shows that new people every 2 to 3 years keeps things moving
We need to give our current leaders a break
Before they leave their posts…and this church…as broken people
We are challenged by Charles Wesley’s words in our closing hymn today
“To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill
O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will”
And what has happened to our mission work?
Catherine Cobb? Brooklyn Food Pantry? Crop Walk?
We need to look outward
From today’s spoken Choral Anthem: “Show me where love, hope and faith are needed, and use me to bring them to such places.”
Is there not love, hope and faith in this space, each and every Sunday?
Being a good steward means seeking places without love, hope and faith, and taking those things there
It means challenging your Administrative Board to spread the Good News outside of this property
It means giving of your time outside of this hour or so on Sunday mornings
Filling the void of love, hope and faith in the world in which we live
I close today with this…
1 Peter 2:9…from The Message “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
We are called to be stewards of God’s gifts, including this church
We must be responsible for what we have been given
We will be held accountable on that day
If you count this church among your gifts from God, please take this passage of scripture to heart:
“Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.” -Luke 12:48b (CEB)