Stewardship Lesson From A Sinner?
27 JUNE 2021 | PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Rev Michael Tan
Scripture Passage: Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Zacchaeus encountered Jesus and emerged to become an extraordinary steward.
Stewardship Sunday is more than supporting the church in financial giving. It is being responsible for every earthly resource God gives us. For when He created Adam and Eve in His image, He blessed and entrusted them to faithfully and fruitfully steward everything He had created (Genesis 1:26-28).
Immediately following the account of Zacchaeus, we read about the parable on stewardship in v11-27, recorded similarly in Matthew 25:14-30. They reveal God the Master’s expectation of His servants: To care for and grow the riches of His valuable resources endowed to them with authority.
What lessons of stewardship can we learn from Zacchaeus, once an unpopularly controversial figure in his day?
What Christian Stewardship Involves: Foundational Pillars of Truth
1. GOD’S INITIATIVE – God originated from the beginning, the appointment of man and woman to be His co-regents to multiply, be fruitful, and reign over all creation. In v2-4 Zacchaeus went to great lengths to do everything he could to have a clear view of Jesus, even climbing up a sycamore tree without reservation “to see who Jesus was”. While it seems that Zacchaeus took the initiative to seek out Jesus, John 6:44 tells us that unless the Father who sent His Son draws a person to Him, no one can come to Jesus. It was therefore a God-initiated response that drew Zacchaeus to Jesus. God continues His work today of creating in people an awareness of their spiritual and moral poverty. Such prompting should evoke in a person the desire to be made right in Jesus. Zacchaeus responded to God’s work in his life. Everyone without exception ought to likewise respond to God’s call in his or her heart to voluntarily and sincerely seek the Saviour.
2. RELATIONSHIPS – In v5 Jesus amiably called Zacchaeus by name, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” In all of Jesus’ time on earth, never once did He ask to be hosted except here, and of all people, with Zacchaeus, despite the people’s grouses. The LORD has set an example in His relationship with Zacchaeus for believers to relate lovingly with Him and with one another. Today, God calls us individually into a personal relationship with Him, and to steward accordingly our relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. As stewards of His church, we are to build accountable relationships with God and with each other.
3. ALL ENCOMPASSING – God has called everyone to care for all of His creation - all people of all ages regardless of gender, physical and mental skills and abilities. Even those of us with special needs or infirmities are to serve as God’s channel of blessings to our family and caregivers. God appoints us as His stewards to go all the way in every way. V7 - As chief tax collector for the Roman authorities, Zacchaeus, a Jew, was hated by his people as a chief sinner. Yet Jesus chose him to be His friend. Across the board, God has entrusted the role of stewardship to all persons of every character.
4. GRATITUDE – v8 Zacchaeus vouched to give half his possessions to the poor, which was no mean sum for he was very wealthy. Why did he decide to be generous? He even promised to pay back four times as much to whoever he may have cheated, which was much more than required by the Law of Moses. “If I have…” implies a new enlightened behaviour for him going forward. What conversations did he have, in the hours he dined with Jesus along with his buddy tax collectors and Jesus’ disciples, that fruitfully produced in him an outpouring of grateful conversion?
By intimately relating with the One who first initiated the friendship, Zacchaeus had observed of Jesus the fulfilment of his soul. What joy he must have felt, to have Jesus as his newfound Friend! Will we also relate personally and intimately with our Master, so that we might adopt a grateful attitude no matter our circumstances to be faithful, fruitful stewards of that which God has entrusted to us?
(Sermon Notes by Marjorie Tan)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Please refer to the 4 foundational pillars of stewardship presented in the sermon for sharing and discussion.
1. God’s Initiative – Are you aware of God’s loving acts in the lives of others? How often and what initiatives do you take to engage them to personally seek and know Jesus?
- How often do you see God as the Owner of all and you as His steward in your relationship with Him? How often do you see you and others (Christians as well as non-Christians) as fellow stewards?
- Share ideas to deepen these 2 relationships.
3. All-encompassing – Are you convinced that stewardship is an ‘all-encompassing’ role for all persons over all things in this life? If so, what more can you do to live as God’s steward and encourage others to discover this truth and do likewise?
4. Gratitude – How grateful are you towards God/Jesus? Today, will you decide in some tangible ways to express that gratitude?
Closing exercise & suggested action:
- If time permits, briefly share your personal statement of stewardship.
- In your own time & space continue to work on a more detailed/comprehensive creed to remind yourself daily towards a more faithful and fruitful stewardship.