Stewardship

Many times when you hear about stewardship, you usually think about your giving from a financial perspective.  Our giving should also include our calendar.  In our church we have spoken about how many hours is consumed a week by your church involvement.  If you are involved in a bible study, a care group, Sunday School and church on Sunday.  That consumes on average eight hours every week.  We also sleep eight hours a day, which equates to fifty six hours for the week.  If we have one hundred and fifty six hours a week and we subtract eight hours for current involvement in church and fifty six hours for sleep, then every week we have one hundred and twelve hours to offer up in terms of good stewardship.   So if God has given us this awake time and the rest is available time at work and in the community to present God an offering.  It could mean walking alongside someone at work that is going through a tough time.  It may be an opportunity for you to give that person your testimony.  It may be an opportunity to pray for and with that person. It may be an opportunity to schedule a time to get together after work to dig in a little deeper.

It could also be serving the community or choosing to go and feed the homeless at a soup kitchen.  it could be being a positive influence in the places that you go on a routine basis. It could be who and how you interact with people at the YMCA or Gym that you frequent.  It could be the person that sells you your coffee or soda every single day.  The point is to not check out and just escape from one thing to the next.  it is to offer up our time in a purposeful and honoring way.

We become self-centered and think we deserve “our time”.  We may go and do things begrudgingly. It is our heart that we need to offer up to God moment by moment.  if our heart is not in the right place, we know that it is time to get in His word or find a place to pray.  We know there are early tells when we are just drifting from one thing on the calendar to the next or falling into a Malaise because we have no schedule or structure at all.

The plan is to set out time for the Lord for our own fellowship.  When that is right then we can shine the light to others.  Thinking about stewardship in respect to my time and attitude is an eye opener for me.  Financial stewardship to ask for thankful giving.  In the same way, we need to thankfully give of our time so that God will be glorified in our community.

Is it Time to Lead?

Have you ever gone to a church and always sat back and got fed.  Of course you pitch in to help with acts of service.  You take your rotation as an usher or child care, but you never really take a leadership position.  i have volunteered with Youth Group and specifically with high School boys.  However, that was relational.. There was a Youth Pastor doing all of the heavy lifting.  I know when I had to step in to give a 10 minute message, it took me 4 – 5 days to get to the point that I was comfortable on the topic and subject matter.  i look around and these kids are brilliant.  Most seem to be children of engineers.  So I swallow my pride and just do the best I can.  What I realized is that the kids knew I loved them and they treated me extremely well and were extremely gracious I tried to encourage and teach them.  I remember I did an exercise talking about the requirements to be an elder in the church.  I asked them to act as though they were the board that was going to either recommend me to the congregation or not.  So I gave them the requirements for an elder and say based on what they know of me over the last two years, make a recommendation thumbs up or thumbs down.  i asked them to take it seriously and that I wanted them to go through that exercise.  They discussed for over thirty minutes.  In my own mind, I was not qualified to be an elder, so I was not going to get hurt feelings if they stated what I already knew to be true.

Then they called me in to give me the verdict.  They said while it is encouraging that I had taught second grade Sunday School and that I had taught as part of the Youth Group team, it was not enough.  The recommendation was that I teach some adult Bible Studies first. Once that was done, then they would be more than happy to recommend me to the congregation.

I was really appreciative of how they deliberated and also how gentle they were with me when giving me the news.  Since that time I have taken my rotation in leading the Men’s Bible Study on Wednesday night.  That was nothing special, except I would lead the group once every two months.

Then we got news that the leader of men’s ministry was going to be joining the board of trustees and would have to give up the reigns on the men’s ministry.  i was approached by a friend at church that asked me to consider heading the ministry.  My instant reaction was to recoil and say that I am not the right guy. My administrative skills are weak, my teaching skills are immature and I do not have a depth of understanding in scripture.  That is a nice way of saying that I have not stayed consistent in reading the Bible.  I said that I will pray about it and discuss it with my wife.

I have yet to discuss it with the Pastor yet, but knowing me like I do.  I know that by taking the reigns, it forces the issue for me.  I t gives me challenges and deadlines. It requires me to lead.  For me to lead, then I need to prepare. For me to prepare, I must be in God’s Word.

So my inclination is to say yes.  After Bible Study tonight I will have a sidebar with the Pastor and get his take.  I do know we run out of options at some point and I would hate for the men’s ministry to just dissolve.

Like Moses, I ask God to find someone else.  Hopefully, if the calling is validated by my shepherd, then I will answer the call.  Historically I need to be prodded.  Now it looks like I am the one to do the prodding.  The point is I guess I cannot continue to be fed like a baby.  It is time to teach and lead and do it humbly and faithfully.  I know we need a leader, I was just surprised that that leader could be me.