Stewardship describes our personal responsibility to take care of God’s stuff.
What is God’s stuff?
In the past weeks we have seen ourselves as stewards over
* The time God affords us
* The talents God lends us
* The financial resources God gives us
Today we will look at being stewards over the relationships God entrusts to us.
* Especially those primary relationships we call Family
Our Key Scriptures For Today: Genesis 4
8 ¶ Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 ¶ Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don’t know," he replied. "Am I my brother’s keeper?"
Answer: Survey says - Yes!
Our Key Question For Today: How does God want me to treat my family?
I was saved at age 12, on a summer Sunday night during a revival at a local church. Although sincere and even though I did experience a change in my thinking and feeling, which was very evident and noticeable to me, I was left unchallenged to change many of my habits and behavior.
From age 12 until about age 22, except for how I felt inside and the fact that I had my name written in the Lamb‘s book of life, I was not much different from those of my friends around me who had not yet been saved.
At a very difficult point in my life, I was forced to take inventory and face the facts that I was not a very good person and that I really didn‘t know what I was doing in life. I felt guilty for many of my actions and a little afraid for my future, but I was still unchallenged to change.
Finally, through a series of events beyond my control, I came to the realization that I could not wait for someone else to encourage me. I needed to challenge myself, break some habits, curb some behavior, put a stop to some sin in my life and make an effort to change.
Without the benefit of someone to disciple me, not that someone would not have mentored me if I had known to ask, I simply started disciplining myself. I figured God would be my answer.
I decided I would read the bible and attempt to memorize the scriptures which sounded important to me.
I developed a habit of talking to God about things I needed help with or things that I saw with others.
I determined to treat people, especially those close to me, better. When I failed, I corrected myself, apologized and promised God to do better next time.
This took a process of over three years for me to make some simple changes necessary for others to notice and come to rely on. It would most likely have only taken three months or so if I had have gotten help or known what I was doing --- I guess I had to learn the hard way. Hopefully I have learned better now.
One of the biggest changes in my life, which has lasted me and served me well these past 25 years, deals with how I treat my family. Both I and they are so glad I challenged myself to change.
So, what have I learned that I believe will help you with your family? Simply this:
First: Give Your Family To God
Then: Treat Them Like They Belong To God
Finally: Let Go And Let God Be In Control
This morning I want to use the time we have to focus on our Key Question: How does God want me to treat my family?
It’s simple to say, treat them like they belong to God, but what does that mean. You may not have three years to work on getting it right. So, allow me the honor of sharing some things I have learned through prayer, study of the scriptures and 25 years of trying.
I. How Does God Want Me To Treat My Family?
A. I have already told you to treat them like they belong to God.
1. That means:
* Treat them like God instructs you to
* According to the rule book
* Let’s take a look at some guidelines I found in the book of Ephesians
* When I first began studying this passage, it looked like a pretty sweet deal for the guy, but I didn’t realize what I now know to be the aim of these instructions.
* Here God is describing the family pattern and structure and likens it to heaven’s structure.
2. Ephesians 5 (NIV)
21 ¶ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
* Submit here means to subordinate yourself, in respect to one another, according to the structure God gives, out of respect for Christ. (“Sort of: Places everyone! Places!”) (Volleyball positions)
* Hereafter begins the structure and instruction:
22 Wives, submit to, (revere & respect), your husbands as to the Lord.
* Girls, just go with me on this one ok, these guys need it …
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
6:1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honour your father and mother" … (look, you wanna live?)
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
* The is so good that the Holy Spirit continues to give structure for relationships outside of the family in real life struggles:
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them …
B. Why should we follow this structure?
1. Because everyone belongs to God, even our family members 2. And remember: “They have a God too.”
II. My Conclusion
A. Give Your Family To God
B. Treat Them Like They Belong To God
1. Find Your Place
2. Do Your Part
C. Let Go And Let God Be In Control
Note: This is not just for your natural born, blood related family, this is also necessary within your spiritual family, the church of the living God.
Read instructions and apply daily.
Stewardship can be fun!