Week 4 — Stewardship
We responsibly manage the resources entrusted to us
Call to Worship
The fourth week of our core values series focuses on stewardship. Our values statement says, “we responsibly manage the resources entrusted to us.”
As we gather together today, let us celebrate God’s bounty and blessing. Let us proclaim God’s goodness and love. Let us remember the many ways in which God has provided for our needs and let us offer ourselves in the work of God’s kingdom. Praise the God of harvest and hope! Let’s worship together.
Resource found at: https://foodgrainsbank.ca/product/we-gather-together-to-celebrate-gods-bounty/
Narrator: When I was a kid, I was given a very special present for _______________ (fill in the blank. Ex. Christmas, Birthday, Finishing cleaning your room etc.) It was a _____________ (fill in the blank). Put your hand up if you have ever been given a special present. Maybe a Christmas or birthday present or an award for doing something well.
I bet those gifts were very special to you. Now imagine you let your sister or brother, or friend borrow your present. What if they accidentally broke it? How would you feel?
[Invite a couple of children to respond]
When you lend your toys or belongings to someone else you don’t want them to come back broken right? Especially after you are letting them use such a special gift.
Did you know the Bible tells us that the whole earth and everything and everyone in it belongs to God? So, its kind of like we are just borrowing all the things we have from God. And God wants us to take care of our things, just like we would want our friend to take care of our special gift we lent them.
What are some ways we can take care of the things we have been given?
[Invite a couple of children to respond]
Those are great ideas! When you are at home this week try to remember some of these ideas to help you take care of everything you have.
Let’s pray together. Dear God, thank you for blessing us with so much. Help us remember to take care of the gifts we have been given. Amen.
LEADER: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
RESPONSE: O bright eternal One, thy voice commanded light and from the shapeless void called order and delight! Through thunder, fire and calm thy secret thoughts have stirred the hearts of humble men who waited on thy word.
Catherine Baird (1895-1984)
LEADER: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
RESPONSE: God’s love is as wide as creation, God’s love is as boundless and free, God’s love brought his Son down from Heaven, God’s love is sufficient for me.
LEADER: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
RESPONSE: To God be the glory, great things he hath done! So loved he the world that he gave us his Son; Who yielded his life an atonement for sin, And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)
LEADER: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Outline by Captain Laura Van Schaick
Scripture: Genesis 2:4-15
Share a personal story of when you were supposed to be responsible for something but didn’t follow through.
An example from childhood might be appropriate here, like a time when you were supposed to be responsible for your bicycle but you forgot to lock it up and it got stolen or when you were supposed to be responsible with your lunch money but used it to buy candy instead leaving with you with a tummy ache.
Paraphrase The Pigsty by Mark Teague.
- Children’s author Mark Teague tells the story in his book The Pigsty of a young boy named Wendell who was a bit of a slob. One day, his mom sends Wendell off to clean his room. “It’s turning into a pigsty”, she exclaims. Wendell makes his way to his room, only to discover that a pig has taken up residence in his pigsty of a room! He decides the pig isn’t so bad, and neither is the mess, so he leaves his things just as they are. When his mom discovers that he hasn’t cleaned, she declares, “It’s your room. You can live in a pigsty if you want to.” Wendell could hardly believe his luck – now he could live however he wanted, he figured. Over time, the pigs multiplied, and the mess grew and grew! Before he knew it, his toys were broken, and he couldn’t find his things. He told his mom about his problem, but she reminded Wendell that his room and his things were his responsibility. Finally, Wendell cleaned his room and the pigs went back to their home at the farm, but not after learning an important lesson about stewardship.
A. In Genesis 2 starting at verse 4 we read the second telling of the story of creation, “when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.”
a. We see God putting great care and consideration into the forming of the earth. In the middle of this description of creation we find the phrase (in verse 5), “and there was no one to work the ground.” This prepares us for what God creates next; ideally, it will be someone to work the ground
B. After the surface of the earth appeared and water had sprung up, God “formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (verse 7).
a. There is beautiful imagery painted here as God breathes into man’s nostrils the breath of life.
b. The original Hebrew word for “being” is nephesh, a word that is often translated as “soul” and means the whole of a person’s physical and spiritual dimensions.
C. After reading verse 5, it should come as no surprise when we read verse 15 to find that, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
a. One could assume this to be why God creates people. God has created the earth in such a way that much of it flourishes only when it is cultivated and tended. So he creates a species of “living beings”—humanity—that God then entrusts to do the work.
a. Just as I was responsible for my bicycle/lunch money etc. OR just as Wendell was responsible for keeping his room clean, we see how God “put [man] in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15) There is a giving of responsibility from God to man to care for the Garden of Eden.
b. Merriam-Webster’s definition of stewardship: “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.”
c. We can expand upon this and note that humanity (man and woman) is responsible for all of creation and that God has created for us and entrusted to us many resources to care for. (Entrusted is defined as assigned responsibility.) One could call this stewardship.
III. Conclusion and Application
God has entrusted us with many resources. How we manage those resources affects our efforts to build God’s kingdom.
Stewardship is a core value of The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda Territory. It states, “we responsibly manage the resources entrusted to us.”
What are the resources God has entrusted to The Salvation Army?
a. People’s time (Are we making good use of the time volunteers give to us? of the time church members give to programs? of the time clients/guests give to attending classes?)
b. People’s talents (Are we making good use of the talents of our volunteers? our friends/adherents/soldiers? our community members? our employees and officers? Are we allowing our clients/guests to use their own talents to provide hope for themselves and their families?)
B. Money and goods
a. Money in the kettle/donations (Individuals and companies have entrusted their money to us to do good with. Are we responsible with our finances?)
b. Food/clothing/toy donations (Individuals and companies have entrusted these items to us to distribute responsibly. Are we being responsible with our practical needs assistance?)
C. The environment
a. Are we making creation care a priority?
b. Do our actions and programs reflect a focus on creation care? (Are we reducing our dependence on single-use consumables? Are we buying fair trade when possible?)
What are the resources God has entrusted you with personally?
A. Your time, talents, money, home, family, the natural environment
a. Have you been a good steward of these? How have you responsibly managed these? How have you used them to build God’s kingdom?
a. God, forgive us for the times when we have not been good stewards of the resources you have entrusted to us.
b. Help us become aware of those things you have entrusted to us.
c. Teach us to be better stewards of the resources of The Salvation Army and of those things which have personally entrusted to our care.
Go now into the world, inspired by the
radiant love of God. Live generously,
with open hands, loving one another
as if your lives depended on it.
Be good stewards of the gifts you
have received, so that God may be
glorified in all that you say and do.
And may the abundant love of God surround you,
may the extravagant grace of Jesus Christ sustain you,
and may the constant presence of the Holy Spirit
inspire and encourage you in every good deed and word.
From With Open Hands, found at: https://foodgrainsbank.ca/resources/world-food-day-open-hands/