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Week 1
(November 6, 2022)

 

What is stewardship? Stewardship is the management of something (dictionary.com and merriam-webster.com). Many times we get to this discussion, and we think of money. How much have we given? How much do we need? Can we do just a little more? But that misses the point of what we’re supposed to be doing. When we look at stewardship within the church or even just as a disciple, we are looking at being good stewards of the gifts God has granted us. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 25 (vs. 14-30) about a man who left for a trip. The man gave his servants coins based on their talents—one got five, one got two and one got one. Each man did their own thing with the coins, with two of them doubling what the man gave them. But the third man hid the coin and did nothing with it. When the master returned, the first two men were applauded and rewarded, while the third man was cast out of the kingdom.

I have always struggled with this parable, because so many times it seems like it is focusing on generating more money. But certain translations of the passage use the word “talents” instead of coins. If we then think of things in those terms, we see Christ calling for us to recognize what talents…or gifts….or abilities we have been blessed with. We must then use those to further God’s kingdom. And better yet, in 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, Paul talks about collaborating those gifts:

The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. 9 We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.

As we wind down this year and plan ahead for next, I challenge you to ask yourself what it means to be a good steward. What are your talents and gifts with which God has blessed you? How can you share those with others to further God’s kingdom: with family and friends? Neighbors? Our congregation? The world at large?

1 Corinthians 3:21-23: So then, no one should brag about human beings. Everything belongs to you— 22 ……the world, life, death, things in the present, things in the future—everything belongs to you, 23 but you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Reflections:

  1. What does it mean to be a stewards of God’s creation?

  2. How would you describe a good and faithful manager of God’s resources?

  3. What gifts has God entrusted you? How seriously do you take the task of stewarding those gifts?

Week 2
(November 13, 2022)

 

Last week we talked about what stewardship is—managing something—and finding ways to be good stewards of the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon us. While money is the most common issue when it comes to stewardship, we must remember that we have many other gifts and talents that we can share and be good stewards. Prayer, service, witness, and special gifts are all ways we can be stewards of God’s gifts. This week, we want to find those opportunities to share those gifts.

It's easy to feel like we don’t have a chance to do God’s work. Or we may not feel equipped to be in ministry. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul implores us to “Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us” (Eph 5:2a). Every interaction we have is an opportunity to be Christ-like; every choice we make gives us the chance to further God’s kingdom here on earth. Last week we were tasked with identifying the many gifts and talents we have. This week our challenge is to find ways to use those in our everyday encounters. Also, are there moments that may be uncomfortable for you, but it is an opportunity to share God’s love with someone? How can we be more aware of the small opportunities that are before us to be good stewards?

Hebrews 3:7-8, 12-14:

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says,

Today, if you hear his voice,8 don’t have stubborn hearts
       as they did in the rebellion, on the day when they tested me in the desert.
12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that none of you have an evil, unfaithful heart that abandons the living God. 13 Instead, encourage each other every day, as long as it’s called “today,” so that none of you become insensitive to God because of sin’s deception. 14 We are partners with Christ, but only if we hold on to the confidence we had in the beginning until the end.

Reflections:

  1. What do you do with your time?

  2. What are you spiritual gifts?

  3. How does your behavior affect your Christian witness?

  4. What does a faithful stewardship of lifestyle look like?

  5. What does it mean to live wisely and not foolishly?

  6. How do you manage your time in a way that honors and serves God?

  7. How could you be a better steward of today while it’s still called today?

Week 3
(November 20, 2022)

 

We are tasked with being good stewards, or managers, of all that God has given us: time, money, talents….everything. These past few weeks, we’ve looked at identifying what our gifts and talents are, and how we can use those in everyday circumstances. It can be challenging to find those times, or to at least feel like we are able to do something in those moments. This week we want to talk about simplifying things.

I am very well aware that being busy can make it hard to prioritize and focus on accomplishing things. As our Daily Companion Bible says, “Often we lose our sense of purpose and forget God gives us the strength to do the work God has for us. When we’re busy or overwhelmed, however, we often forget to look to God.” When we let life take priority, we stray from God. Lucky for us, God is a loving God, and is always waiting for us to return to His ways.

As we move into 2023, let us take time to step back from the busyness and actually spend time with God, asking for God’s guidance in all that we do. When we do that, we can then be better stewards of our lives, finding those ways that we can do God’s will and share God’s love with all that we encounter. “33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34). Living in the moment allows us to focus on God, and on the opportunities that present themselves for us to use our gifts and talents. But, when life does get in the way, keep your eyes on God: “28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

Our Springdale UMC family is strong and resilient because we keep God first. We invite you to prayerfully consider your commitment for 2023, focusing on your gifts and talents, and ways you can use those to contribute to our ministries and our efforts to further God’s kingdom on earth. We don’t know what God’s plan is for us, but we know that we can trust God to always be there for us, no matter what.

 

“Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

 

Reflections:

  1. Would you say you have simplicity in your life? In what ways?

  2. How are simplicity and stewardship connected?

  3. How can being free of worry and anxiety help you become a better steward of your life?