The Crucial Role of Church Stewardship in Sharing the Gospel Message: An Eternal Impact

Feb 4, 2024 – 5th Sunday after the Epiphany | 1 Corinthians 9:16-23                                    

Stewardship of the Gospel

Stewardship is a pivotal concept in the church. It revolves around the judicious and faithful management of our time, talents, and treasures. Despite occasional misrepresentations and coercive methods tarnishing the teaching of stewardship, its significance remains unrivaled. It reminds us that our possessions are not merely for personal pleasure but a divine trust from God, serving a purpose beyond individual gratification.

Stewardship is commonly associated with tangible resources. Yet its most profound manifestation lies in the stewardship of the Gospel. Amid discussions on time and talent management, the responsibility of sharing the Gospel can sometimes be overshadowed. 

The Gospel, the good news of God's salvation through Jesus Christ, stands as a divine trust bestowed upon the Church. As members of Christ's Royal Priesthood, we are obliged to share this life-saving message with a world in need.

Our Role as Gospel Stewards

Recognizing ourselves as stewards of the Gospel becomes imperative. The apostle Paul emerges as a paragon of dedication in this context. His words resonate with a profound sense of compulsion, an obligation imposed upon him. 

The gravity of this task is so immense that he exclaims, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" Paul's calling was not a result of his decision but a divine intervention—an appearance by the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

Paul's transformation from a persecutor of the Gospel to a preacher of the Gospel exemplifies the extraordinary grace of Jesus. The same grace that forgave him also entrusted him with proclaiming the Gospel. 

Thirteen books of the New Testament bear witness to the impact of Paul's stewardship. His obedience to this divine calling reshaped the landscape of our Christian faith.

Our Divine Mandate for Stewardship

In contrast to Paul's direct encounter with Jesus, most of us haven't experienced a similar vision. Yet, we have been called into God's kingdom through the stewardship of apostles like Paul, Peter, Matthew, and John. 

Our presence in worship today is not a conscious decision but an outcome of God's grace working through the stewardship of others. Consequently, we find ourselves holding not just the precious gift of the Gospel for personal benefit but as a treasure to share with others.

Sharing the Gospel may not always evoke passion or joy, but it holds immense value. The stewardship of the Gospel provides others with the opportunity for salvation, allowing the Holy Spirit to work mightily in their lives. 

Moreover, the Gospel is a unique gift. It comes free of charge. Unlike worldly transactions, the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, has no cost attached. It is a privilege to offer something genuinely free, a message that can save souls.

Custodians of the Gospel

Drawing an analogy to the TV show "The Millionaire," where a wealthy benefactor gave away a million dollars each week, we realize that we, as Christians, are entrusted with a far more valuable gift—the Gospel. This gift not only has the power to change lives on earth but also secures eternal salvation. 

Our role is akin to that of the intermediary in the TV show. We have the joyous responsibility of giving away someone else's invaluable fortune—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A crucial aspect of stewarding the Gospel is ensuring its freedom. The Apostle Paul took measures to prevent any misconception that the Gospel could be purchased. He refrained from accepting financial support from the Corinthians, choosing to support himself through tent making. By doing so, he emphasized the gratuitous nature of the Gospel, reinforcing the message that it cannot be bought or earned.

Paul becomes a key example of adapting to diverse audiences without compromising the core message. He becomes "all things to all people" to save some, not by altering the Gospel to suit cultural tastes but by accommodating himself to the contexts he finds himself in. This sacrificial approach accentuates the profound nature of stewarding the Gospel.

Challenge and Privilege in Stewardship

The challenge posed to us is whether we can emulate Paul's example. Can we become "all things to all people" for the sake of the Gospel? 

As good stewards of the Gospel, we have the privilege and responsibility of investing this life-saving message into the lives of others. It may necessitate sacrificing personal freedoms, rights, and comforts for the sake of reaching souls.

As stewards of the Gospel, let us welcome the divine trust placed upon us with a deep sense of responsibility. Recognize that in sharing the Gospel, we partake in a profound, eternal venture—the salvation of souls. May we echo the prayer: "O, Savior of sinners, help and bless us to this end!" Amen!

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