Giving to God What Is His
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." -1 Corinthians 6:19-20, emphasis added
As we learned last week, God owns all things whether we recognize it or not. But life becomes much clearer, and in some respects much easier, when we consciously and continuously choose to recognize it. Have you invited Him to be what Scripture says He is-the Creator, Owner, and Controller of your family, your possessions, your money, and you? And have you extended the invitation again after you have taken things back into your own hands? This self-surrender to God is the beginning of true stewardship and thus the end of being ensnared by materialism.
True Biblical Stewardship: From a proper view of God's ownership comes true biblical stewardship. If we belong to God, then we recognize that we are not owners, but stewards. Unless you travel on cruise ships you probably don't see many stewards. The term is not a common one used in our vocabulary. A steward was someone that a wealthy person had in their household who took care of their goods for them. There was never a thought that the steward was the owner or master. A steward was a slave or servant who was responsible for oversight of his master's possessions. Believers are stewards, slaves of their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is wonderful to be.
Stewardship is the giving of ourselves without reservation to the Lord. In fact, one of the conditions of discipleship is that we be stewards of Jesus for life.
Stewardship is unreserved surrender to Christ: "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). Christ is in the same breath, the same setting, talking to the same people. He already told them they had to love Him more than anything else, and then He told them they had to take up a cross, which meant death to self. His next qualification for a disciple is the requirement to forsake all for Him. This deals with personal possessions.
Jesus has the right of disposal. It is not our money or our life, because both belong to God. Discipleship is not about thinking: I'll give God His ten percent, and then the rest is mine. If you keep the rest for yourself, you are keeping ninety percent of God's money-because He owns it all. Instead, you are to be a steward of the Lord's money, which should always be at His disposal.
Henry Parsons Crowell, the founder of the Quaker Oats Company, gave away ninety-six percent of his income and lived on just four percent. It doesn't matter which percentage is involved, however, as all of it is God's. You don't get a ribbon if you give more because Jesus says it is all His anyway. He is the Owner, and we are only employees. Christ therefore asks that He be above all our treasures on earth, whether money or possessions. For Jesus has said, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21). The man He spoke to went away sadly. Why? Because he said what so many people say today: "God, You can have my voice, my body sometimes, my time now and then, but you are not going to have everything." But Jesus says, "If I can't have everything-I don't want anything."
A true disciple humbly acknowledges this truth: "Everything I have comes from You-and belongs to You." Such an attitude changes us from thinking in terms of how much of my money should I give to how much of His money should I keep!
To find this message online, please click here.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.