When you hear the word ‘stewardship’, what comes to mind? MAIN IDEA - Everything we have has been given to us by God Our role in creation is that of stewards or ‘managers’. (Gen 1:26-28). Everything we’ve been given is an entrustment from God. We live as true humans when we care for, multiply, and use what God’s given us in ways that honor and bring glory to Him. This involves our whole lives – our time, talent and treasure – living generously with all we are and have, because this is the way God is toward us. We’re going to explore Stewardship in 2 Parts. Part 1 – Time & Talents DISCUSS: What might it look to be generous with your time? What might it look to be generous with your talents? EXPLORE THE WORD: Read the following verses. What do you learn about stewardship? Genesis 1:26-28 Psalm 50:12 Matthew 25:14-30 INTERESTING QUOTES: “We all have an array of good things that we use for our own benefit, such as relationships, education, training, possession, skills, and personality traits. However, the uniqueness of the Kingdom is that we are called to view these things as the raw materials of love and to repurpose them for the sake of others.” – The Symphony of Mission “When we do good work, we become living analogies of God’s character, display the brilliance of his creation, provide a foretaste of God’s kingdom, and serve our neighbors. When we faithfully steward what we’ve been given, we cultivate beauty from the seemingly mundane stuff of earth, pointing to its goodness and the goodness of the One who made it.” – Michael Goheen “Stewardship isn’t about changing the world; it’s about changing diapers, light bulbs and oil in your car. All these things are involved in developing and caring for God’s world. We are called to engage God’s world with faithfulness in all aspects of life.” – The Symphony of Mission PRACTICE: Whether we realize it or not, we all have a lot of things we can use to bless and serve others in our lives; to bring answers and healing to the brokenness in our world. 1 - Make a list of things you possess that bless your life (ie: cooking skills, budgeting skills, big backyard, lawnmower, truck, etc). 2 - Make another list of things you see as broken with the world (ie: abused kids, poverty, racial barriers). Think of creative ways that items on List #1 might be used to serve a need in List #2. Pick one and give it a go. REFLECTION QUESTIONS to keep you growing What can I reduce, remove or eliminate from my life in order to have more time, energy and resources for blessing others? How will I reflect God’s goodness into the everyday and mundane of life? How will I reflect God’s character through the work of my hands? Part 2 – Treasure DISCUSS: Do you think money has anything to do with your faith and relationship with God? Why? MAIN IDEA - Money is spiritual There is a spiritual force behind money that Scripture calls ‘Mammon’. Jesus described it as a master, something that could easily control us and would compete with God for our hearts. Mammon is the only real competition Jesus faced, and it’s a major force in our world today; this is why we’re taking a special focus on our ‘treasure’. Mammon exerts its power when money is not properly stewarded. The treasure of our life can be a powerful force for good, bringing blessing to our lives and others, if we leverage it to honor God. EXPLORE THE WORD: Read the following verses. What do you learn about money? Luke 16:10-13 Proverbs 3:9-10 Malachi 3:10-12 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 INTERESTING QUOTES: “What is the spiritual ‘thing’ about money that causes it to have such power? Jesus named it Mammon, the god that we let be our master instead of God. Money frequently transgresses its proper sphere and becomes Mammon. When instead we return it to God, use it sparingly, give it away generously, and in other ways desacralize it, we triumph over it.” - Marva Dawn “The ground for generosity is the awareness that the world is funded by a generous, active God who has made creation as a gift that keeps on giving, and that we are on the receiving end of that endless gift-giving! Thus we need not and cannot imagine that we are self-made or self-sufficient. Nor does it follow that “I made my money and it belongs to me.” Responsible materiality recognizes that we are each and all embedded in a life-giving network, and we are permitted the glorious chance to be full participants in and contributors to that life-giving network.” - Walter Brueggemann PRACTICE: To follow Christ is to live in a way that allows Him first place in every area of our lives, including our finances. Giving is a response to Christ’s generous love for us. Contributing financially to the church through tithes (10%) and offerings is one of the greatest investments we can make; we are investing in something eternal. A great way to start if you’re new to this practice is pick a % of your income you will commit to giving each pay period. Practicing this biblical principal is one way that opens up our life to incredible blessing and opportunity. REFLECTION QUESTIONS to keep you growing What can I do to shift more of my time, talent and treasure outward to and for others? After my percentage-giving, how am I managing the remainder of my finances? Are there any areas of my life where ‘mammon’ might be trying to gain control?