Message of Stewardship #5

Stewardship entails social responsibilities.

Nothing to do in this world of ours, Where weeds spring up with the fairest flowers, Where smiles have only a fitful play, And hearts are breaking every day. Nothing to do! Thou Christian soul, Wrapping thee around in thy selfish stole, Off with the garments of sloth and sin, Christ, thy Lord, hath a kingdom to win. Author Unknown

“From the beginning this was God’s work: to create in men a moral responsibility as “my brother’s keeper.” Perhaps no one in the Old Testament expresses more passionately this burden for the salvation of the race than does Moses, the chosen leader of the Israelite people. In the day of their great sin he spoke out to the people, and again it is God speaking through his steward:”

Ex 32:30-32 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! 32 Yet now, if You will forgive their sin — but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”

“I think my soul was never so drawn out in intercession for others as it has been this night; I hardly ever so longed to live to God to be altogether devoted to him; I wanted to wear out my life for him…I wrestled for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, personally, in many distant places. I was in such an agony, from sun half-an-hour high till near dark, that I was wet all over with sweat; but O, my dear Lord did sweat blood for such poor souls: I longed for more compassion.” David Brainerd

David Brainerd is the famous missionary to the Delaware Indians. This was his only ministry option since he was expelled from Yale for saying that one of his teachers “had the grace of a chair”. He was friend to Jonathon Edwards (eventually dying in his home) caught up in a student revival in Yale and Harvard. His ministry would be difficult with few converts but his diary would live forever. It has been in continuous publication since 1749.

Frederick Faber: “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea; There’s a kindness in his justice, Which is more than liberty. If our love were but more simple, We should take him at his word; And our lives would be all sunshine, In the sweetness of our Lord.”

Frederick Faber was the son of an Anglican vicar who went into the ministry. His search for a deeper walk with Christ would lead him to including some Catholic trappings in his ministry. This would cause some tensions without people losing their fellowship with him. He would go further into monkish disciplines even starting a kind of brotherhood within the congregation. Eventually he would become a Catholic priest with deep devotion to Mary, yet he is talked well of by famous Protestants such as Toser.

The Hebrew nation exemplified the refusal of stewardship; rejecting its God-given mission to glorify God to a fallen world.

“God will keep no nation in supreme place that will not do supreme duty.” William McKinley (look at us now)

William McKinley was our 25th president elected in 1896. He was a devout Methodist. McKinley believed the U.S. government had a duty to help spread Christianity and Western civilization to the rest of the world. He was assassinated by an anarchist. “Good-bye – good bye, all. It’s God’s way. His will, not ours, be done. Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.” — last words before death, 14 September 1901

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln

This is taken from the Gettysburg address.

The supreme example of stewardship is the cross.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an offering far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”  Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the natural poet who wrote hymns still sung today. Taken from Wikipedia: From an early age, Watts displayed a propensity for rhyme. Once, he responded when asked why he had his eyes open during prayers: A little mouse for want of stairs ran up a rope to say its prayers. Receiving corporal punishment for this, he cried: O father, father, pity take And I will no more verses make.

He is best known for Watt’s Logic. This book became a textbook used in Harvard, Yale and was used as a  textbook in Oxford for over a hundred years.

John 1:11-14 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The Word Becomes Flesh 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

“Self-sacrifice is an everyday affair. By it we live. Without it society could not go on for an hour…I mean by self-sacrifice any diminution of my possessions, pleasures or powers, in order to increase those of others…The greatest conceivable sacrifice is when I give myself.” George Herbert Palmer

Mr. Palmer was a teacher at Harvard for 42 years. He would enjoy explaining the importance of actualization, (its actually OK) with the twist of the necessity of self-sacrifice.

The church is called to the fulfillment of stewardship.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

“Man can love the higher law. He can cry as desperately as Carlyle, ‘I will live a white life, if I go to hell for it!’ But all human efforts must end in the wail of Saul of Tarsus, ‘Wretched man that I am,’ were it not that God made one final appropriation of his divine resources and at Pentecost inaugurated the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Henceforth the victorious life is the privilege of every child of God, even as Jesus promised, ‘Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you.’”

Thomas Carlyle, best known for his work on the French Revolution, is another one of those men who lost his soul at university but would go on to join Ralph Waldo Emerson in their transcendental thoughts. He would write on heroes with this quote: “history is nothing but the biography of great man”. It would be the seeds of thought that would sprout with the fascist movements of the 20th century that would doom transcendental thought and the natural goodness of man.

“I worship thee, O Holy Ghost, I love to worship thee, Thy patient love, at what a cost, At last it conquered me!” William F. Warren

William Warren was the first president of Boston University. He graduated from Wesleyan University where he was involved with the “Mystical 7” a society/fraternity that would go by the name of Skull and Bones at Yale. They promoted transcendentalism. This was the belief in the natural goodness of man. This is the thinking behind Walden’s Pond. If man could just stay untouched by the organization of society his natural goodness and uniqueness would shine. They would always be looking for a internal and external utopia that they could not find.

“If I have been less true, less strong, Than I have power to be, And followed, weakly, after wrong When right appealed to me, Dear God, forgive, And give to me that insight clear, defined, Which marks the progress of the soul; For they who seek shall find.” Lena Blinn Lewis

Couldn’t find anything online; but what a fitting ending to our sermon.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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