By Don Driver, Pastor, Beltsville Seventh-day Adventist Church, Beltsville, Maryland
Summary: Until the gospel grips our souls, our stewardship is stingy. Until we, like Abraham, recognize the total lordship of Jesus, we will have difficulty placing on the altar our most cherished possession, ourselves. The gospel is not a matter of things; it is a matter of love.
What does the gospel have to do with stewardship? Stewardship is the recognition we are not our own, that we are bought with a price. In the story of Abraham we have the full revelation of the gospel that includes stewardship.
The gospel is the good news of God recovering the human race. Genesis 3:15 unveils the seed of the gospel. The stories move fairly rapidly to the point where God unfolds the story of Abraham. Here God recovers the human family through a covenant with Abraham, his family, and descendants.
The choosing of Abraham Sarah was sealed with the covenant. At that point the gospel and stewardship were linked together. The dramatic point came when God asked Abraham to give Him Isaac. Isaac was a gift from God, a fulfillment of a promise. Yet God said to Abraham Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, . . . Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering (Gen 22:2). Everything Abraham had was a gift from God. And of all the gifts, God was now asking for the one gift that would be the fulfillment of the promise, the one gift that promised his future. Abraham’s very life was wrapped in Isaac.
John 3:16 contains the same words God said to Abraham For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son—the Son He loved. He did not withhold His Son in recovering the lost family. Abraham put on the altar his most cherished possession—his life in his son. God put on the altar His most cherished possession—His life in His Son.
Until the gospel grips our souls, our stewardship is stingy. Until we, like Abraham, recognize the total lordship of Jesus, we will have difficulty placing on the altar our most cherished possession, ourselves. The gospel is not a matter of things; it is a matter of love. When we realize the fullness of the gospel, then stewardship becomes a matter of love. Abraham did not respond out of fear of what God could do. Neither did he respond out of duty. He responded out of love to the One who had provided the gift that his descendants and he were secure in the God who supplies all our needs.
It is not a matter of giving a tenth or a seventh portion. When we accept that everything we are and have is a gift provided, there will no longer be a debate about stewardship, ownership, or lordship. Our recovery (gospel) will be evidenced in our willingness to place our gift of live on the altar just as He did for us.