“When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ He asked them” (Luke 22:45-46). Jesus was exhausted too. After all, He was human. He got hungry and tired, just as His disciples did. We are prone to shake our heads at those lazy, disloyal disciples, but how often do we say we’re too tired to serve, too poor to give, too inadequate to help? Like the disciples who were transformed on Pentecost, we have received the Holy Spirit Who equips, enables, and energizes us to be God’s stewards.
If we were asked to identify with a person in Scripture who best exemplified a life of service, some of us would possibly select the Apostle Paul. Out of love from Jesus and His love for Jesus, Paul lived a life of service to Him. Serving Jesus was the passion of his life. In Philippians 3:8, he wrote, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” With zeal, Paul made God’s purpose his purpose. In the same way that God empowered Paul to be a servant, He enables us to live lives of service. Receiving God’s love, we can respond with joy in service to Him by serving others.
WHAT’S YOUR GIFT?Perhaps you haven’t spent much time, if any, pondering that question. God has given each of us at least one gift, though, and if even one of us does not use that gift, the Body of Christ suffers. Paul, in Ephesians 4:16 writes, “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and build itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Christian stewards tend to have a lower opinion of themselves than they ought, denigrating their abilities and talents and even their financial capabilities. When we keep in mind that it is God Himself Who has chosen our gifts and blessed us materially, we realize that to belittle these gifts is to question God’s wisdom and generosity. Again we read Paul’s words, now from Romans 12:5, “. . . in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” He goes on to say that whatever our gifts are, we are to use them as effectively as we
Yes, it is the pastor’s job to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, but we, as stewards who have received the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20, are to be obedient also to Jesus’ command to tell the Good News to the whole world.
Yes, there are those in your congregation who seem to have more abilities and talents than you, and there may be members who have more money than you – perhaps may even be very wealthy. Does that exempt you from the responsibility to serve or to give? By no means! In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we’re commanded, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Each one is to give and to give cheerfully – of his time, his talents, and his treasures. God looks at the size of the heart of the giver rather than at the size of his gift. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12).
If you are not using your gifts, if you are not giving your money, if you are not sharing your time, the Body of Christ suffers. We need each other and our individual gifts in order that we might carry out our responsibilities as stewards to the end that the name of Christ might be made known.