Last Days and Stewardship…
Last Days and Stewardship…that’s a strange combination or so it would seem. I’ll explain in just a bit. Recently I began a new sermon series on prophecy and understanding the times and seasons. It’s important because over a quarter of the Bible discusses, on some level, prophetic matters. If it’s that prevalent in scripture, obviously God wants us to be fully informed and aware of things to come. While we cannot set the time, we know that the time is set! In Acts 17:31 Paul said it this way, “…He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness…”
Because the time of Christ’s return and the day of judgement is indeed fixed in heaven, it requires us to be vigilant, alert and doing what we were created to do. That means carrying on and fulfilling the mission of the Kingdom of God while we are here, and that is where stewardship comes in!
Over the past decade it has been my custom to begin each New Year with a series of messages on Biblical Stewardship. This year I will only bring one message for instruction and inspiration in that regard. Without a doubt in future years I will again do stewardship series and throughout each year as led by the Spirit of God I will talk about these matters as a “good shepherd” of the truth of God, to remind us of the responsibilities that we each have to use our talents in service to God, our time in devotion to the work of God and to give of our treasure, that has been entrusted to us by God, to carry on His mission through the Church. Like prophecy, stewardship is one of the reoccurring themes and messages throughout scripture.
I say all of that to say, even though I am not preaching on stewardship as a series, we will do what we have done for years. We are designating the first Sunday of February as “Prove the Tithe” Sunday. On that Sunday I am not asking you for any kind of extra offering. I am simply asking the entire family of God at Ridgecrest to obey scripture and tithe… that is give a tenth. If you have never tithed from your income, this is the time to test God! (It is the only command in the scripture where God tells us to test Him. And subsequently promises a blessing to those who obey. See Malachi 3:10). If you are a tither, continue and if you’ve dropped off in your obedience in this area, this is the perfect day to get back under the cover of God’s Word through doing what He has commanded.
Our Ridgecrest family has been so good to give generously and obediently, and I firmly believe that the favor God has bestowed on our work over the year is, in part, the result of that generosity. Let’s keep going and growing in stewardship and faithfulness.
Now, back to the connection between “Last Days” and “Stewardship”… Here is the simple and powerful connection. Because we expect our Savior’s return in the future, rather than hunker-down and batten-down the hatches waiting with fear and trepidation, instead let us be compelled, more than ever, to accomplish the work that God has given us, His Church, His Bride, before He comes for us. That is why I am more committed than ever to lead us as a congregation to urgently communicate the gospel to our community, nation and world. It is also the reason that we will ignite outreach efforts like “Who’s Your One” later this year and will be working to reengage our “Out of the Seat and Into the Street” emphasis through our small bible study and connection groups this year. So, rather than allowing prophecy to cause us to shut down and wait it out, let’s allow it to tune us up and send us out! And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!