Stewardship #4 God’s Stewardship
“God himself has chosen to place his own powers and resources under the law of stewardship – the same law that he made for his creatures.”
“God is not only the sovereign Lord, to whom every one of his stewards shall someday give an account, but that he has set a high and holy example (in Jesus) of voluntarily placing himself under the law of stewardship, is, perhaps, the most impressive fact in the whole universe.”
“Calvary was nothing more nor less than the supreme effort in God’s eternal appeal to humanity, first expressed in the Creation, climaxing in the Cross, and continuing for ever and ever.”
Heb 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Bishop Cranston: “The world has no place or use for misers, but for the world’s sake a man would better be a miser than a rich profligate, rotting in his wealth, and by his contempt of decency and honor corrupting the young and outraging society. Physical self-indulgence lies in its infamy in body and mind. Luxury invites decay. This is nature’s penalty for its violated law of stewardship.”
Methodist Bishop Cranston got saved. In college, he would take part in a revival put on by the future Methodist Bishop of Africa. After that he joined the union army as a private. After the war, he finished his education and became a Methodist minister in 1867. His forte would be education and publishing. I am thinking of Joe Rice’s example: every slave owner did not want his slaves to learn how to read because it would put in them a desire for freedom. It is right that the church encourages literacy and education.
Creation was an act of stewardship.
“If one is looking for the picture of a lonesome God, he can find it in this description of the Spirit of God mourning over the face of the deep, restless until all his vast resources have been placed at the disposal of “others.” Sam Walter Foss wrote: There are hermit souls that live withdrawn In the place of their self-content; There are souls like stars, that swell apart In a fellowless firmament.”
Gen 1:26-31 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Bishop Earl Cranston: “But the climax of demonstration of stewardship appears in God’s application of the principle of stewardship in his sovereign relation. Being all-sufficient unto himself in his infinite attributes, he nevertheless counts it his chief glory to graciously administer the in exhaustive resources of his material empire for the benefit of his peopled world.”
Stewardship in the Garden
“Creation was a supreme venture on the part of God in producing a breed of men who would share with him the enjoyment and administration of his boundless sresources.”
Gen 2:8-9 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Gen 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
“Not as owner, but as caretaker, was Adam installed “in the park of Eden, to till it and to guard it” (Moffatt); and the injunction “Of one tree shalt thou not eat” was God’s loving way of continuously advertising to the son the proprietorship of the Father. In its legal sense that first offense was a “challenge of God’s right to control the domain he had created,” but it was even more than this – it was the refusal of child to follow his father in consecration of life and resources for the up building of the world. Tragedy alone could be the result. They his themselves from the presence of the Lord!”
Lizette Woodworth Reese: “Whether we climb, whether we plod, Space for one task the scant years lend – To choose some path that leads to God, And keep it to the end.”
The daughter of a confederate soldier, she was a teacher in Baltimore for 50 years while she pursued her dreams of publishing her poetry. Her first publication, happened at her own expense. It is described as non-sentimental and straight forward.
Ps 139:17-24 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Salvaging Mankind is Stewardship
“It is a long road that leads from the failure of our first parents to such a cry as came from George Matheson’s lips: “O love that wilt not let me go.” The most touching part of the story of the Garden of Eden is where, when the tragedy is done and the personas are still in hiding, a grieving Father goes out seeking his rebellious children.”
Gen 3:8-9 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
After the fall; “God sets himself to the task of gathering up the wreckage of Eden in order to start over again in working out his eternal purposes of making the kind of manhood that well share with him his compassion for the world.”
“In the following scripture it is evident that God has found in Abraham a man who from the heart feels the same sense of stewardship that God felt.”
Gen 18:23 And Abraham came near and said,”Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Gen 18:32 Then he said,”Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.”
J H Jowett: “Does the cry of the world’s need peirce the heart, and ring even through the fabric of our dreams?…I am amazed how easily I become callous…I so easily become enwrapped in the soft wool of self-indulgency, and the cries from far and near cannot reach my easeful soul. “Why do you wish to return?” I asked a noble missionary who had been invalided home: “Why do you wish to return?” “Because I can’t sleep thinking of them!” But, my brethren, except when I spend a day with my Lord, the trend of my life is quite another way. I cannot think about them because I am so inclined to sleep!”
Jowett was born in Halifax, England in 1864. “I was blessed with the priceless privilege of a Christian home,” he later remarked. His love for reading manifested itself early as he spent his evenings in the town’s Mechanics’ Institute, devouring volumes from their library.
After theological training at Edinburgh and Oxford, Jowett assumed the pastorate of the Saint James Congregational Church. His six effective years of ministry brought him to the attention of the Carr’s Lane Church in Birmingham, England, on the death of their pastor. For the next fifteen years the church grew and prospered. Their pastor’s vision led them to increase their efforts to bring people to Christ. In 1917, the mayor of Birmingham said the church had changed the town with “crime and drunkenness having decreased.”
Although his preaching style was not dynamic (he read all of his sermons), the depth of his knowledge, the clarity of his language, and the power of his life commanded respect. Attendance at the church (now in America) which had dropped to 600 on Sunday morning rose to 1,500. Lines up to half a block long formed, waiting for unclaimed seats. Jowett began preparing his Sunday sermons on Tuesday, following a meticulously detailed schedule.
George Matheson: “O Light that followest all my way I yielded my flickering torch to thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day May brighter, fairer be.”
heart of mine; keep it under the shadow of thine own wings!”
He is the man. From Wikipedia: “He was educated at Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he graduated first in classics, logic and philosophy. In his twentieth year he became totally blind, but he held to his resolve to enter the ministry, and gave himself to theological and historical study. In 1879 the University of Edinburgh conferred upon him the honorary degree of D.D.”
“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” was written on the evening of Matheson’s sister’s marriage. Years before, he had been engaged, until his fiancée learned that he was going blind—that there was nothing the doctors could do—and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He went blind while studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one to care for him through the years, but now she was gone. He was now 40, and his sister’s marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak. It was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave Matheson this hymn, which he said was written in five minutes.”
Dean Henry Alford: “O God, who hast commanded us to be perfect, as thou our Father in heaven art perfect, put into our hearts, we pray thee, a continual desire to obey thy holy will. Teach us day by day what thou wouldst have us do, and give us grace and power to fulfill the same. May we never, from love of ease, decline the path which thou pointest out, nor from fear of shame turn away from it. Amen.”
He was a fifth generation Episcopal preacher; in 1835 began his eighteen-year tenure of the vicarage of Wymeswold in Leicestershire, from which seclusion the twice-repeated offer of a colonial bishopric failed to draw him. He was Hulsean lecturer at Cambridge in 1841-1842, and steadily built up a reputation as scholar and preacher, which might have been greater if not for his excursions into minor poetry and magazine editing.
In September 1853 Alford moved to Quebec Street Chapel, Marylebone, London, where he had a large congregation. In March 1857 Lord Palmerston advanced him to the deanery of Canterbury, where, till his death, he lived the same energetic and diverse lifestyle as ever. He had been the friend of most of his eminent contemporaries, and was much beloved for his amiable character. The inscription on his tomb, chosen by himself, is Diversorium Viatoris Hierosolymam Proficiscentis (“the lodging place of a traveler on his way to Jerusalem”).
Many books, articles, songs and illustrations; but his crowning achievement was an 8 volume Greek translation of the New Testament. He worked on it from 1841 to 1861.