You will find it helpful to have a printed copy of the lesson planning sheet along side as you read the lesson. The progression will make more sense.
Principle of Stewardship
Bible Passage: Luke 12:13-32
The human need this passage meets is: To make a difference with our money and lives.
Learning Goals: By the end of this session, each learner should be able to. . .
(Know) Identify the principle of stewardship that describes God's view of money.
(Feel) Feel the need to change your desires and focus to be more like God's.
(Do) Name one way he/she will make a difference with his/her money.
Two men were discussing: "How do you know you're important."
One man said, "When the President asks you to dinner."
The other man said, "No, when the president asks you to dinner and the red crisis phone rings and the President says, 'Just let it ring.'"
"I have one even better - When the red phone rings and it's for YOU!"
Jesus said, "Five sparrows are sold for 2 cents, yet none of them are forgotten by God. The very hairs of your head are numbered. You are worth more than many sparrows."
The point is - you matter to God. He sees you, cares about you, knows you through and through and will never forget you.
Years ago we sang a chorus entitled, "Into my Heart."
Into my heart, into my heart
Come into my heart Lord Jesus.
Come in today, Come in to stay.
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
That song taught me the spiritual concept that when a person becomes a Christian, Jesus comes into his heart.
As I have grown in the faith, I have discovered that He doesn't come into your life just to observe you.
Jesus comes in to:
gain full possession
transform you into his likeness
This is especially true when it comes to a believer's attitude toward the principle of stewardship.
When you understand the principle of stewardship, you will discover (from Luke 12) the kind of changes Jesus wants to make in your heart.
Bible Input and life Application
Let's read Luke 12:13-21.
First, Jesus wants you to. . .
1. Change your desires from greed to generosity
This story is virtually self explanatory: Jesus' point is that greed is the opposite of generosity.
The rich fool had become so greedy, he saw everything as belonging to himself:
v. 17 -- my crops
v. 18 -- my barns; my grain; my goods
v. 19 -- I have plenty of good things for many years
v. 21 -- He stored up things only for himself
v. 20 -- But, God called him a fool!
v. 21 -- In contrast, a generous person is "rich toward God"
In my insurance practice I have listened to many people discuss their concerns for the future. Invariably, the focus is on the end of their earthly life -- but not the next one.
In America, many people have very little concept of a life beyond this one. For many, "retirement" is the devil's substitute for heaven.
All they want is to "have plenty of good things laid up for many years."
Of course, saving your money so that you don't have to work for a living is not wrong.
The concern is hoarding money -- and thinking only of yourself and this life.
If you are saving your money so you can free yourself to volunteer and serve the needs of others, that's great!
BUT living only for this life and failing to be rich toward God is the world's way -- not God's way.
According to an Associated Press article, "New Englanders remain among the most tightfisted in the country when it comes to charitable giving. Bible belt residents are among the most generous, according to an annual index."
"For the fourth year running, New Hampshire was the most miserly state, according to the Catalogue for Philanthropy's Generosity Index. Mississippi remained first for generosity.
"We believe that generosity is a function of how much one gives to the ability one has to give," said Martin Cohn, a Catalogue spokesman.
Rankings were based on 2003 tax data.
It is obvious from this study that wealth doesn't have anything to do with practicing the principle of stewardship. Wealthy people aren't automatically generous. Neither are poor people. Generosity comes from embracing the principle of stewardship as God teaches in his Word.
Jesus wants to change the desires of your heart from greed to generosity.
Jesus contrasts two types of people in these verses --
Those that worry vs. those that seek His Kingdom
He tells his disciples to quit worrying about their life.
v. 22 -- Do not worry about your life
v. 22 -- Do not worry about what you will eat
v. 22 -- Do not worry about what you will wear
v. 30 -- Why? The pagan world runs after all of these things
v. 31 -- Shift your focus to God's kingdom and these things will be taken care of
When you embrace the principle of stewardship you recognize that Jesus wants to change your focus from merely making a living to making a difference
Now, Why do you work?
In Psalm 90 Moses asks God to "establish the work of our hands."
What Moses meant what was that for his life's work to be significant he must depend on God to establish his work and give him success.
When Joseph was sold into Egypt by his brothers, I imagine that he thought his career was over. He definitely was not planning, "Once things calm down, I think I'll go into politics."
But Joseph humbled himself and Genesis 39:3 says, "The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did."
The irony is that Joseph did eventually become a ruler in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But Joseph never said that God sent him to Egypt to be second-in-command. Joseph said, "God sent me here to save lives."
Imagine that we asked your pastor to share with us "Why he went into the ministry."
What would you think if he stood in front of us and said, "The main reason I decided to go into the ministry was to "make a living."
"What? Could you elaborate on that?"
"I noticed, I could make a little extra by doing weddings and funerals. Of course, occasional speaking opportunities arise. As you get more experienced, you get offers to move up and get a bigger church and a bigger salary. The bottom line is that "I just found the ministry is a really good way to make a living."
I think we are all bothered by the notion of a pastor working just to make a living. If that bothers us, I think it ought to bother us if the main reason we work is to making a living.
If God didn't send Joseph into Egypt to make a living,
If God didn't call your pastor just to make a living,
Then God didn't put you into your career field, occupation or company to merely make a living.
Non-Christians work to make a living. Christians work to give God glory and advance his kingdom.
For every member of the body of Christ, there is a purpose, a plan, and a place.
Here's a biblical perspective: Every person has either a "ministerial occupation" or an "occupational ministry."
if you are a pastor, you have a "ministerial occupation" -- the ministry itself is the occupation.
if you are not a pastor, you have an "occupational ministry" -- your occupation provides a platform to impact other people.
Either way, Jesus wants you to understand the principle of stewardship and change your focus from merely "making a living" to "making a difference."
In Mark 14, Jesus was eating at the home of a man named Simon the Leper. A woman came to him with a large jar of every expensive perform and poured it on his head. Some of the disciples who were present, couldn't believe it. They said it was a huge waste of money because the perfume would have sold for more than a year's wages.
leave her alone
She has done a beautiful thing to me
She did what she could
She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial
and then he added -- and wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.
Jesus commended the woman because she did what she could.
There could be no greater tribute paid to anyone at his funeral or on his tombstone than the words: "he did what he could."
Jesus isn't expecting you to do what you can't do -- he's expecting you to do what you can do.
Jesus isn't expecting you to give money that you can't give -- he's expecting you to give what you can give.
Jesus isn't expecting you to do everything -- he's expecting you to do what you can.
Read more inspirational stories about people who knew the principle of stewardship and made a difference with their money and lives in Chapter 13 of
What's Missing Inside You?
1. What is the main principle of stewardship?
2. Name characteristics and lifestyle choices of a person who embraces the principle of stewardship.
3. How would you counsel a person whose only purpose in life was making money?
4. How does seeing your job as an "occupational ministry" change your whole emphasis on working?
5. How can you begin to live up to the challenge to "do what you can"?