THEME:         “Good Stewardship = The Discipline of First Things First”

CALL TO WORSHIP:          Psalm 134 (CEV)

(A song for worship.)

 1 Everyone who serves the Lord,
come and offer praises.
Everyone who has gathered
in his temple [today],
lift your hands in prayer
toward his holy place
and praise the Lord.

The Lord is the Creator
of heaven and earth,
and I pray that the Lord
will bless you from Zion.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

  1. READING: Matthew 25:14-30 (TPT)

A Parable about Financial Stewardship

14 “Again, heaven’s kingdom realm is like the wealthy man who went on a long journey and summoned all his trusted servants and assigned his financial management over to them. 15 Before he left on his journey, he entrusted a bag of five thousand gold coins to one of his servants, to another a bag of two thousand gold coins, and to the third a bag of one thousand gold coins, each according to his ability to manage.

16 “The one entrusted with five thousand gold coins immediately went out and traded with the money, and he doubled his investment. 17 In the same way, the one who was entrusted with two thousand gold coins traded with the sum and likewise doubled his investment. 18 But the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

19 “After much time had passed, the master returned to settle accounts with his servants. 20 The one who was entrusted with five thousand gold coins came and brought ten thousand, saying, ‘See, I have doubled your money.’

21 “Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Come celebrate with me!”’

22 “Then the one who had been entrusted with two thousand gold coins came in and said, ‘See, my master, I have doubled what you have entrusted to me.’

23 “Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you were faithful to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Come celebrate with me!”’

24 “Then the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins came to his master and said, ‘Look, sir. I know that you are a hard man to please and you’re a shrewd and ruthless businessman who grows rich on the backs of others. 25 I was afraid of you, so I went and hid your money and buried it in the ground. But here it is—take it, it’s yours.’

26 “Angered by what he heard, the master said to him, ‘You’re an untrustworthy and lazy servant! If you knew I was a shrewd and ruthless businessman who always makes a profit, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? 27 Then I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. 28 But because you were unfaithful, I will take the one thousand gold coins and give them to the one who has ten thousand. 29 For the one who has will be given more, until he overflows with abundance. And the one with hardly anything, even what little he has will be taken from him.’

30 “Then the master said to his other servants, ‘Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!’”

 

The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

A Recap of our Series:

  • Micah 6:8 “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God”.
  • Luke 6:46-49 “Build your life on the foundation of Jesus’ life and teaching”.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 “Generosity is Worship”. Sow with generosity into the lives of people.
  • Living with good stewardship = living with generosity, discipline, and thanksgiving.

Discussion Questions on Matthew 25:

  1. Why do you think Jesus began the parable with the words “heaven’s kingdom realm is like” [other translations – “the Kingdom of heaven is like”]? _________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Think about the characters in the story:
  • Who does the “wealthy man” represent? _____________________________
  • How many servants are there, and what are they to do? _________________________________________________________________________________
  • How successful were they in fulfilling their tasks? _________________________________________________________________________________
  1. What was the Master’s reaction when he returned?
  • Vs 21: ________________________________________________________
  • 23: _______________________________________________________
  • 26: _______________________________________________________
  1. Is this story about money, or is it about something completely different? _________________________________________________________________________________

Notes on: “The Discipline of First Things First”:

(Some scripture verses: Ex. 13:12, Lev.2;12, John 3:16, 2 Cor. 8:2-5)

  1. Practically speaking, how do we do “First Things First”?
  • Worship on the First day of the week [Mark 16:2]:
  • Give the First part of each day to the Lord [Mark 1:35]
  • Give the First part of your income to the Lord’s work [Numbers 18:21]
  1. What does it mean to “Tithe”? _________________________________________________________________________________
  • An Old Testament example – Jacob in Genesis 28:20-22
  • The Lord’s Tithe [Lev.27:30]
  • The Festival Tithe [Deut. 12:10-18]
  • The Poor Tithe [Deut. 14:28]

A Comment from Rev. Tim:

“Once again, our focus at STMC is not a fixation on percentages and deliberately deciding who gives what! We each give generously according to our hearts and in our relationship with the Father. Our calling is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love all others, as much as we love ourselves.

We respond to God’s love at work in our lives with gratitude, and express that gratitude with generosity and an outpouring of blessing into the life of the church, and through the church the blessings are administered into the lives of those in need.

The key to understanding this calling to generosity giving, as a discipline, is all about putting God first, in everything. God is after all the God of extravagant and unconditional love who longs for each of us to experience his love in action in our lives. He is the one whose love is so encompassing that he welcomes us back and reinstates us as his children – even after we left him and went away! His love is determined to embrace us!

  • Luke 15: 11 ff.

We are called to worship God in Spirit and in Truth; and we answer that Call with Generosity of heart and mind and resources, and we live with an accountability to the Kingdom and the Father’s purpose by following the Disciplined approach to our tithes and giving by “First things First” (God first with our time, God first with our talents, God first with our day, and our prayer and worship, God first with our tithes and offerings). We live our lives with God first, and in Thanksgiving for all the Father has done for us.

NOTES:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

God bless you in your journey with Him!

Have a great week.

Rev. Tim

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