40 Days of Discipline


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Stewardship

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

 

There were so many powerful thoughts and examples yesterday from those who commented.  Some provided great examples of how we can use our material possessions (or as many of you said, really God’s resources) to demonstrate God’s love to others in need.  As we conclude our consideration of the Discipline of Stewardship today, I want to highlight a challenge that we sometimes face when we think about financial stewardship.

In the world’s view, a good steward typically engages in growing and retaining economic resources.  While there is nothing wrong with these activities in many instances, it is quite interesting though, that in God’s economy a good steward is often engaged in giving away resources to a world in need.  Trying to decide how much we should keep/save versus how much we should give away is often very difficult.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

What does our inclination to share our resources with people in need say about where our trust resides?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”  15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do?  I have no place to store my crops.’  18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do.  I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you.  Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13 – 21)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Stewardship as we consider the theme A World in Need.

We started our consideration of The Discipline of Service by looking at a parable.  We are going to do the same with the Discipline of Stewardship.  The parable of the Rich Fool is another masterpiece by Jesus.  If you haven’t been following the stock market lately, I can summarize what has been happening for you in one word – brutal.  There have been a few good days but overall, stock prices are down considerably since the start of the year.  And, that’s only a part of the story because there are many workers worrying about loss of income due to business closures and a slowdown in commerce.  Whether you are directly impacted by the volatility of the economy or not, the shifting sand of financial resources brings the Discipline of Stewardship into very sharp focus.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

How can we demonstrate an attitude towards material things that provides a Christ-like example to a world in need?

 

 


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Stewardship

13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”  15Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do.  I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13 – 21)

 

Today, we continue our consideration of the discipline of stewardship.  I am sure that most, if not all of us agree that the possessions we are blessed with ultimately belong to God.   However, a problem often emerges because we very easily slide into “ownership mode”, where we act as if we are the ultimate owner of our possessions; instead of “stewardship mode”, where we recognize God as the ultimate owner.  The temptation is very strong partly because possessions are a great signal of our level of success and status.  However, it is very clear which mode gives glory to God.

We are not immune to the kind of greed exhibited by the rich man in the parable, and this is not only a “rich man’s disease” or necessarily about financial or physical assets.  Therefore, pay very careful attention to the caution Jesus proclaimed in Luke 12:15: “Watch out!”

 

Question:

On one level, the rich man in the parable appears to be engaging in “sensible” forward planning.  Where does he go wrong, and how could we do the same?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1 NKJV)

26the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  27To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:26 – 27)

 

We now turn our attention to the discipline of stewardship.

By definition, stewardship is all about managing what God has blessed us with in ways that bring honor and glory to Him.  Often this discipline focusses on the topic of financial resources, which is extremely important.  However, we know that stewardship is a much broader concept.  The passages above remind us that we are most importantly stewards of God’s glory revealed through Christ.  This is an awesome responsibility!

Please read the passages above carefully and answer the question below.

 

Question:

What would you suggest are practical ways that we can be good stewards of the “riches of the glory” revealed in Jesus?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Stewardship

11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”  12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:11 – 12)

 

As we continue to consider the Discipline of Stewardship as it relates to Our Identity, an important principle to consider is accountability.  Since we are stewards of God’s resources, it is entirely logical and Biblical to expect that we should give an account.  How do we manage our priorities, time, health and wealth?  In tangible terms, let’s assume that you rigorously maintained a calendar, a diary, an address book, and financial statements (e.g., a bank statement).  If these were made public, what would they say about your stewardship of time, health, emotions, relationships and finances?

Please prayerfully reflect on the passages above.

 

Something to think about:

Wherever we are on the journey of stewardship we can improve.  What one thing could you do to improve?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

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. (Psalm 24:1 – 2)

17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:17 – 18)

13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.  14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?  Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. (1 Chronicles 29:13 – 14)

 

Today we switch our attention to Stewardship.  Fundamentally, the lifestyle of a steward is the lifestyle of submission.  If submission to God is not a part of our identity, then the significance of Stewardship is lost.  This conclusion is reached because the Biblical version of stewardship asserts that everything we have comes from God.  In other words, we are working with God’s resources.

Please prayerfully reflect on the passages above.

 

Something to think about:

How unwavering is your belief that God owns everything?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 30 – Stewardship

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10)

 

The comments yesterday related to the Discipline of Service were again superlative.   Thanks to all who commented!  Please be reminded that this week we will be focusing on a different Discipline each day.  Today Libby will address the Discipline of Stewardship.   As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing.  Libby is not expected to be an expert.  Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences.   So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself.  Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.

Please review the Bible passage above and Heather’s challenge below.

 

Dear Libby,

I struggle with the Discipline of Stewardship.  First, I tend to associate this Discipline with money, which I know is too narrow a definition.  Second, I hesitate to give my hard-earned money to religious institutions because of all the scandals.  Third, it is very easy to say everything I have is a gift from God, but translating that into the way I live is another matter.  You can probably tell that this is not one of my strong areas.  How do you put this Discipline into practice?  As always your practical advice and the biblical basis for the advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Yours expectantly,

Heather

 

Today’s Question:

What thoughts would you like to share with Heather?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 27 – Stewardship

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Luke 12:41-44)

 

The Discipline of Stewardship certainly speaks to an attitude of the heart much like the other disciplines.  Jesus not only lived the Disciplines but he also honored people who were similarly inclined.  Today’s passage tells an amazing story about stewardship.  The story places the poor widow in the prestigious group of people whose actions were publicly commended by Jesus.

Please read the passage and answer the questions below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. What key principle(s) of stewardship do you believe Jesus honored in this powerful story?
  2. Do you consciously think about the fact that Jesus also watches your giving and other acts of stewardship?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. (Luke 21:37-38)

 

We now switch our attention to the Discipline of Stewardship.  This Discipline reminds us to submit to God’s agenda.  The word stewardship is often linked to money.  However, we know it involves much more than money.  In fact, today’s passage highlights an area of stewardship that we often struggle with, our time.

Please read the passage and answer the questions below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. How would you describe the way Jesus related to His father’s agenda?
  2. How do you test your calendar for alignment with God’s agenda?


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40 Days of Discipline: Day 33 – Stewardship

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)

 

Our Feature Friday Discipline is the Discipline of Stewardship.   Stewardship is unfortunately often limited to discussions about tithes and offerings but it obviously encompasses a whole lot more.   God is interested in everything He has allowed us to steward (time, talent, treasure, loved ones, etc.), and He deserves to be trusted with everything when we consider His great love for us.

In the passage for our consideration today it is obvious that Jesus was impressed with the poor widow.   When Jesus is impressed with someone I think we should pay attention.   Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer today’s questions.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  •  What does the action of the poor widow say about her view of God?
  • In your view why is stewardship important?