Monday, December 17, 2018

Open My Eyes, part 5

The following post is the fifth in a series of posts based on a sermon I preached in October.

The definition of stewardship in echoed in verse 9 of what I read to you from Philippians, “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Now, this is Paul talking, and he’s telling them to continue to live a life that exemplifies what he has taught them, but he has taught them about Jesus, so if you imagine that Jesus is saying it, it tells you what stewardship is.

We are disciples - that means we walk behind our teacher, Jesus, and we learn from Jesus who God is – we see God most clearly in Jesus – and we learn from Jesus how we should live our lives. We are disciples – or students – of a master.  Stewardship follows from that. Stewardship is the “keep on doing the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.”  Stewardship is the doing – its living the life.  From Christ we learn what God is like, and from Christ we learn how to live into the image in which we were created.  It’s not enough to know who God is; we have to live the way God calls us to live. We have to be disciples to learn; and we have to be stewards to live the life.

So what is it that we learn from Jesus about God? What do we know about God?

You know the answer to that - it's so popular that it's on t-shirts and key chains. God so loved the world that he gave…..

God gives. God gives love, God gives presence, God gives gifts, grace, forgiveness. God gave us the world; God gave us life. God gave us God's son. God is generous.

And in Genesis, we learn that we were created in God's image. So not only do we learn what we should do from Jesus, but we also learn who we are from Jesus. We are beloved children created in the image of God. Amazing, isn't it? Created in the image of the one who created the universe. Who set the stars in motion and started our hearts beating. We are not only called to be like God; we are created to be like God. Extravagantly generous.

How do we become extravagantly generous? How do we live into that image of God? It’s starts with gratitude. It starts with seeing what we have been given. It starts with recognizing the abundance we have as children of God and as a church.

Once we see it – once we recognize it – THEN nothing will stop us from stewardship – living the generous life God has called us to live, living a life that is being transformed into God’s image.  But we have to see the abundance of what we have been given. Instead of living a life blinded by fear so that all we see and live is scarcity.

Beloved, once we see all in our lives that is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise – once we recognize the abundance of gifts we have been given by God, then we will see the presence of God in our lives – we will see the abundance of God’s presence around us – we will see that our cup overflows.

Nothing will stop of us from responding to God’s gifts with our own generosity. Nothing will stop us from being generous with our time, our gifts, our prayers, our service and our witness. We will not be afraid; we will be generous; we will be joyous. We will have moved steps closer - though God's sanctifying grace - of living into the image in which we were created. And when we do that – and when we, the church, do that – God will transform the world through us.

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