Friday, September 22, 2017
Oct 2017: Stewardship
Jesus put stewardship into action. He used the time He had on earth wisely, never wasting a moment, but always working towards God’s plan. He used what He had—from bread and fish, to dirt and spit—to perform miracles, helping people see and eat. Everything Jesus did showed us how we can take care of God’s stuff by using it the way that points people to God and fulfills the mission God has for our lives.
Key Question: How can you treat everything like it belongs to God? It’s hard for anyone to refocus how they think about their stuff. This is especially true for kids. We hope to guide kids through the process of realizing that what they have is a gift on loan to us from God. Because of that, how we take care of what have matters. We want kids to walk away with a plan for how they will treat what they have like it belongs to God—because it does!
That’s why we start the month with something David wrote in Psalm 24:1, The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it, (NIrV). What David wrote at the start of this Psalm is an important reminder. As we head into a month talking about stewardship, we want kids to focus on the Creator and how everything big and small, seen and unseen, belongs to God.
Bottom Line: Remember, everything belongs to the Lord. Kids have an easy time claiming what’s theirs. One of the first words a child learns is “mine!” We want kids to understand that what they have is actually on loan to us. Remembering that everything belongs to God is the first step in choosing to use what we have wisely, because what we have belongs to God.
Key Question: How can you best use your time? Kids are just starting to become aware of time. We’ll help kids begin to realize that we only have so much time, so how we use it matters to God. Kids will wrestle through the ways they spend their time now and figure out what needs to change to use their time wisely. Really, this is a question we hope small group leaders and parents ask themselves as they lead their kids. Everyone can benefit by taking a look at how they’re spending the time God has given to them.
With that in mind, we continue looking at stewardship with another Psalm. In Psalm 90:12, Moses writes,Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom, (NIV). Moses reminds us that when we take time to think about the time God has given us, we have an opportunity to use our time wisely.
Bottom Line: Use your time wisely. We only have so much time while we’re here on earth, but every day God gives us is a chance for us to do something that matters. We can waste our time or use it to do something significant. We pray that kids will make every moment they have count.
Key Question: How can you best use your things? If you asked the kids you know, most would tell you that what they own is super important to them. But if you pressed them long enough, you’d probably discover that they leave their LEGOs on the floor, their bikes out in the rain, or their video game controllers lost somewhere in the couch cushions. But we want kids to remember that what they have actually belongs to God, that God made it possible for them to have those things. Along with that comes a responsibility to use your things (or your time, talents, and money) wisely.
This was something important to Jesus as well. Jesus talked about stewardship through several of His parables, including one recorded for us in Matthew 25:14-30. This is a familiar parable about a businessman who went on a journey and left three of his workers in charge of some of his money. Two of the workers turned a profit while the third buried his portion, did nothing with it, and wasted his opportunity for growth. In the end, the people listening are left wondering how they are caring for what’s been entrusted to them.
Bottom Line: Use your things wisely. God has given each of us responsibility over something—money, talents, even our stuff. We pray kids discover how they can use those things wisely.
Key Question: How can you best use your money? They may not have a lot of it, but kids this age are starting to have some “pocket money” of their own. And even if they don’t, now is a perfect time to set a foundation of stewardship related to how we use the money we have in a way that honors God. We’ll walk kids through the principles of give, save, and spend, so when they ask themselves this question, they’ll have a perfect starting point to make wise choices with their money throughout their lives.
A huge way we can use our money wisely is by how we give some away to help others. We’ll look at something Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give . . . God loves a cheerful giver, (NIrV). We have opportunities every day to spend money on all sorts of things and experiences. But what if we looked at our money differently? What if we looked at money through the eyes of stewardship and saw that how we use our money reflects how we take care of what God has given to us.
Bottom Line: Use your money wisely. One of the best ways we can use our money is to give some away and allow God to something amazing with it. We’ll help kids figure out ways then can give, save and spend their money wisely.
Key Question: How do you live for what really matters? Even kids have several options when it comes to how they choose to live their life. Throughout the month, we’ve talked about using time, things, and money wisely, but this can also be about the company we keep, the way we study for tests, or the way we treat our neighbors. Kids are starting to realize that the way they live comes with consequences both good and bad. We hope to guide kids to see their life as more than the here and now. They can live their life to gain popularity and friends, or they can choose to life their life in a way that honors God.
That’s why we conclude our month about stewardship looking more closely at something Jesus told His followers during the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 6:19-24. Jesus tells us, “Your heart will be where your riches are.” Jesus reminded us rather than spending all of our time on earth to gain riches that won’t last, we should spend our time on what matters most—serving God and storing up treasures that will last forever.
Bottom Line: Live like you know what really matters. The world is filled with voices telling us what should be important—money, power, fame, and personal glory. But what God wants for us is different. When we live our life for only things that matter on earth, they’ll end up fading away and being destroyed. Instead, we pray kids will learn to make choices about their life that will matter for eternity.