For the next few weeks we are going to study the subject of stewardship from a biblical perspective. Some of you will get all nervous because you think I’m going to talk about money. I think the church must be very careful to teach a clear message stewardship that is biblically based because this is clearly a biblical principle. Now for those of you who are worried that someone is going to touch your little nest egg I offer the following story:
A man named Stumpy illustrates how money affects people. Stumpy and his wife Martha went to the state fair every year and every year when Stumpy saw the antique bi-plane he would say, “Martha, I’d like to ride in that airplane.” Martha always replied, “I know Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars.
One year Stumpy and Martha went to the fair and Stumpy said, “Martha, I’m 81 years old. If I don’t ride that airplane I might never get another chance.” Martha replied, “Stumpy, that airplane ride cost 10 dollars, and 10 dollars is 10 dollars.
The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you: but if you say one word it’s 10 dollars.”
Stumpy and Martha agreed and up they went. The plot did all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word was heard. He did all his tricks over again, but still not a word.
When they landed, the pilot turned to Stumpy and said, “Well, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.”
Stumpy replied, “Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, but 10 dollars is 10 dollars.” (Taken from Great Stories; vol. 6/Issue 24; p. 8)
If you really have a desire to broaden the boundaries of being a true disciple of Christ, I have a recommendation for you: sign up for nursery duty.
More specifically, if you want proof humans are born with self-centered egos that need cleansing, sign up for a tour of duty in the toddler nursery.
Those of us who have experienced the privilege of parenting clearly understand one reason God makes toddlers short in stature is so they won’t take over the whole world for themselves and their own selfish desires.
Though we know all of the toys in the toddler room are property of the local church, just try to convince a strong-willed, two-year-old of this. Don’t ever think toddlers don’t live by a clear and passionate mission statement, because they do. This mission statement is best stated in a simple one-syllable mission word—mine! In other words, What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine, and whatever’s on your mind about possibly being yours is mine! In fact, whatever’s presently unclaimed in the entire nursery is mine!
Strong-willed toddlers seldom, if ever, recognize the church, much less God who owns the church, as the rightful owner of the toys in the toddler nursery.
Come to think of it, our present culture has a mentality and a mission statement much like a strong-willed two-year-old, since it does not recognize Almighty God as the Source, Creator, and Owner of His own world.
The songwriter may have written, God’s got the whole world in His hands, but most people—including many who call themselves Christians—don’t live their lives like they believe it’s true.
Watching a toddler dabble in self-centeredness in the church nursery is one thing, but observing full-grown adults behaving the same way over God’s stuff is altogether different.
Today, let’s take a trip back to the beginning of it all—literally. Let’s look at the first book of the Bible and the first part of the first verse. In Genesis 1:1 we discover a theme that invites us to move away from being spiritual toddlers to become fully devoted children of our Almighty Father God. It’s a call to move from thinking the world revolves around us to knowing God really does have the whole world, the heavens, and you and me in His holy hands.
From the very beginning of God’s Book, we learn that shedding self-centeredness and taking on stewardship makes perfect sense. Actually, the theme of Genesis may be best defined with two eye-opening words: GOD PROVIDES!
I want you to wrap your mind around that concept during this message. God Provides!
With the God Provides theme in our grasp, today’s message demands that we answer the question: Isn’t It Mine?
But who exactly is asking the question? Rest assured it’s not a two-year-old fighting over a can of Play-Doh in the church nursery. Neither is it the question of a full-grown adult.
The One asking the question is Almighty God, the Source, Creator, and Owner of everything. Yes, the Father of the foundations of the world asks us a direct yes-or-no question today. Listen closely. God is asking you and me: Isn’t It Mine? Isn’t It ALL Mine? Jeopardy theme song: Isn’t It Mine? Isn’t It ALL Mine?
The correct answer is, “What is ‘Yes?’”
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
Today, I want to pose three questions to help us understand some basic truths that have existed from the beginning of time:
Question One – Isn’t Almighty God the Source of Everything?
We begin with Question 1: Isn’t Almighty God the Source of Everything?
“In the beginning God . . .” (Gen. 1:1a).
Are those four words powerful or what? “In the beginning God . . .”!
As we enjoy the many resources of life, let us learn and never forget this fact: Without the Source, there would be no resources. If we go all the way back to where it all began, before there were any resources, Almighty God was the Source of everything. Genesis 1:1 is mind-boggling stuff.
The beloved West Coast preacher, Dr. E. V. Hill, once said he did not understand what his daughter meant when she told him he had nothing to do with whom she dated or married. Dr. Hill’s reply to his daughter was something like this, “There seems to be one thing you’ve forgotten and a second thing you need to be aware of. One, I brought you into this world. And, two, I can take you out of this world.”
Okay, so maybe Dr. Hill made his point with more emphasis than we’d prefer; however, he was at least fifty percent correct because as his daughter’s father, he was “The Source” of her life. Basically, Dr. Hill reminded his daughter of this basic truth: “In your beginning, E. V.”
How insulted our Father God must be when His children fail to recognize Him as the Source of everything we are and everything we have. If we are to be obedient children of His Book, we must begin where His Book begins, in Genesis with the first four words written there: “In the beginning God . . .”
Jeopardy theme song: Isn’t Almighty God the Source of Everything?
The correct answer is: “Who is Almighty God?”
The game board reads: “He is the Source of everything.” Almighty God is the Source of everything we have received in life.
Question Two – Isn’t Almighty God the Creator of Everything?
Now, let’s move on to frame basic truth number two from the beginning of the Bible: Isn’t Almighty God the Creator of Everything?
Back to Genesis 1:1: Let’s just add one word to the four words we’ve already considered. It’s just one word, but it’s one powerful word: “Created.”
“In the beginning God created” (Gen. 1:1b). Have you spent any time thinking about the whole grand reality of Creation? I’m not asking if you consider yourself a grand debater when it comes to arguing Creation theories. What I’m asking is simplistic, but also quite profound. Have you spent any time thinking about the whole grand reality of Creation?
It was Mac Davis who sang a song with this lyric: “You’ve gotta stop and smell the roses along the way.” Speaking of roses, can you recall the last time, or even the first time you studied the delicate and intricate texture of a rosebud? One solitary rosebud created by Almighty Creator God really impresses me. (Multiplied rosebuds, placed in a crystal vase and delivered will really impress your wife.)
Then there are those little, fascinating creations called hummingbirds. Talk about delicate sophistication! I am convinced a careful study of the hummingbird is more than enough to convince almost anyone of the fact there was—in the beginning, and to this day—an Amazing Creator God at work in this world.
What I’m saying is the so-called little things of nature we usually take for granted—yes, the little things like rosebuds and hummingbirds—point us to a Creator, to their Creator, to our Creator. Almighty God gives us little things like birds and flowers to remind us He will ultimately handle the big stuff in our lives if we will only trust Him in the little things.
I believe the little things of God’s wonderful Creation are mainly moment-by-moment reminders that Genesis 1:1 is true: “In the beginning God created”!
What’s all this talk about birds and flowers? It’s Jesus-talk. In Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus used the same little things of His Creation to teach us that God Provides. He used—brace yourself—birds and flowers:
19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In essence, Jesus says, “Trust in My Father, God! As your Creator, He loves you. God provides for His birds, His flowers, and His children.
If we are to be obedient Christ followers of His Book, we must begin where His Book begins, in Genesis. We must also take to heart the first five words written there: “In the beginning God created.”
Jeopardy theme song: Isn’t Almighty God the Creator of everything?
The correct answer is: “Who is Almighty God?”
The game board that reads: “The Creator of everything.”
Question Three – Isn’t Almighty God the Owner of Everything?
Back to Genesis 1:1: Let’s add five more words to the five words we’ve already considered.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”
Do you ever wonder why artists, photographers, writers and songwriters are so serious about copyrighting their creations? Why do they do it? It’s a way to protect ownership of their work. Well, if God were into copyrighting His Creation, we wouldn’t be able to have anything without getting written permission from Him, because, simply stated, “God owns it all because He created it all!” In fact, He even gives us the gifts necessary to write wonderful songs or complex novels.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Belief in these words will change the way you approach life. Following Christ, believing the Bible to be true, and believing that God created everything is a life changing thought. People who choose to live their live without God are people who don’t believe that God has every right to their life. He is the Owner.
People who choose to go through this life serving themselves and their interest are people who don’t believe that God created. He is the Creator.
People who try to work out their stuff, their challenges on their own without God are people who don’t believe that God is the source of everything. He is the Source.
Jeopardy theme song: Isn’t Almighty God the Owner of everything?
The correct answer is: Who is Almighty God?”
The game board reads, “He is the Owner of Everything”
The good news about God’s claim on everything everywhere is introduced in the opening words of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the good news about God’s claim on everything everywhere is reinforced. Psalm 24:1-2 is pretty solid Old Testament evidence that God is the Source of everything: 1The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
And James 1:16-18 is a New Testament reinforcement of God’s right to everything:
16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
As human beings, we are the crown jewel of God’s Creation on earth. It’s high time we crowned Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords! So, instead of having attitudes like toddlers and clutching everything that belongs to God all the while screaming “Mine!” let us surrender all and come willingly to the Lord for an attitude transplant. Then He can embrace us as His own, and we can hear Him say with delight that one word that echoes off the walls of the nursery—“Mine!”
And as God embraces us and claims us as His, we can laugh out loud and say these three words of joy back to Him, “I’m All Yours!” Today, can you say to God, “I’m All Yours”? Can you say it with integrity and confidence, “Almighty God is my Source, my Creator, and my Owner”?
Several years ago, construction workers happened upon a corpse outside the ancient city of Pompeii, where many people died when a volcano exploded. The evidence surrounding this corpse (a woman) was interesting. Apparently, she had been fleeing from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Overtaken by the molten lava, she died in the hot ashes. The corpses revealed hands that were clutched around jewels. The jewels had survived, but the woman had not. The same is true today. Death will overtake all of us and strip us of our earthly wealth.
Why would you hang on to stuff like a kid in the nursery? Do you know how silly you and I look when we do that? You see someday it will all be gone and you will ask yourself the question, “Could I have done something more with what I was given to make a difference in the world?”
Where God presides, God provides!
If God is a resident of your life, know this: He wants to be president of your life.
Let’s take a few moments right now to take personal inventories of God’s good and perfect gifts toward us—His gifts of time, talent, treasure, and touch.
Right now, with surrendered hearts, let’s willingly and gladly transfer the deed of all these things back to God. I invite you to join me in writing a deed out to Almighty God, recognizing Him as the Source, Creator, and Owner of all we have, all that we are, and all we ever hope to be. You will find this deed on the back of your handout. I have already signed my name and dated it.
Second Timothy 2:19 says, “The Lord knows those who are his.”
On that day when we enter the gates of heaven, is it possible the first word Jesus will say to us is “Mine”? And is it possible the first word we will echo back is “Yours”? >