Does God give instruction on godly stewardship in the Bible?
The short answer is yes. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and at the heart of God’s all-encompassing love is generosity. As we seek to help the people we lead to understand and live out God’s heartbeat, we must teach them about stewardship in the Bible—to give as God gives.
That might seem like a big (and potentially awkward) task, but Faithlife’s free Sermon Generosity Kit can help. We can’t write your sermons for you, but we can offer you an outline for a sermon series that uses three of Jesus’ parables to encourage faithful stewardship of your members’ time, talents, and treasures. Each starts with a well-worn biblical principle of stewardship: everything we own comes from God. Plus, you’ll get sermon fill-in notes for your congregation to follow along, corresponding small-group studies, slides for each sermon, and more.
Enjoy this sermon outline about stewardship in the Bible excerpted from the free Sermon Generosity Kit, “Generous with Your Resources,” based on Luke 16:1–13.
Summary: Every dollar in your pocket comes from God. We are all called to steward our money generously by investing it in what will outlast us. In the parable of the unjust steward, we’re taught to be shrewd with our money and use what we have to make an impact upon eternity.
I. How you spend your money matters
- As has been shared throughout this series, all you have is a gift from God.
- Your money is one of those gifts.
- Whether you have a lot or a little, God expects you to generously invest what you have for eternal good.
- Oswald Chambers writes about Matthew 6:33 in My Utmost for Your Highest: “Immediately we look at these words of Jesus, we find them the most revolutionary statement human ears ever listened to. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God.’ We argue in exactly the opposite way, even the most spiritually-minded of us—‘But I must live; I must make so much money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.’ The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God but how we are to fit ourselves to live. Jesus reverses the order: Get rightly related to God first, maintain that as the great care of your life, and never put the concern of your care on the other things.”
- How you spend your money is the barometer of your heart (Matt 6:21).
II. Background of the parable of the unjust steward
- What this story doesn’t tell us
- It doesn’t tell us that it’s right or good to cheat people out of money. The Bible clearly teaches that making money in deceitful ways is sin. (See Proverbs 21:6.)
- It doesn’t mean that money itself is evil. First Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
- How the landowner system worked in Jesus’ day
- The landowner hired a manager to manage the land for him.
- Rent was often calculated “in-kind” (giving gifts like wheat, etc.).
- The manager typically added his own little commission—that was his salary.
III. What the parable of the unjust steward teaches about money
- God owns it all.
- The landowner owned all of the land. In the end, everything is his, though he gives the manager responsibility over it. This is a picture of what God does.
- The Bible clearly teaches that God has authority over everything.
- The first few verses of Genesis attest to the fact that God created everything. Without God, there would still be nothing.
- This idea is reiterated in the New Testament (Col 1:16).
- Stewardship begins when we realize all God has made, all that we own, and all that we are, are his.
- That includes our money.
- Money isn’t evil. First Timothy 6:10 says the “love of money is the root of all evil.”
- Instead, money is a tool our generosity allows God to use for his purposes. More than any story in the Bible, this parable speaks to this truth.
- God gave us the ability to earn our money (Deut 8:18).
- God has entrusted us with what he made.
- The landowner entrusted the land to the manager (Luke 16:1).
- After he created the earth, God made man its manager (Gen 1: 28–31).
- As we’ve discussed in this series, God entrusted us with all we have (time, talent, and treasures).
- We are to use what he has given us for kingdom purposes.
- This is the main point of the parable. He’s telling the disciples that they need to use what he has given them for kingdom purposes (Luke 16:9).
- The NIV translates “unrighteous wealth” as worldly wealth. Or more generally all the things of this world that pass through our hands.
- The question really is: Will we use what we have for things that have eternal value? Your financial resources are a gift from God.
- David recognized this as he prepared Solomon and the people of Israel to build the temple. Generosity comes when we realize we’ve been entrusted with the Lord’s resources and we’re to use them for his purposes (1 Chron 29:14–17)
- We are to use what we have wisely.
- The landowner praised the unjust steward for managing what he had been given wisely: “The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted astutely” (Luke 16:8).
- “Astute” means “wise.” It’s a word used in Matthew 7:24 to describe the man who built his house on the solid rock (of Jesus). It’s also used in Matthew 10:16 to describe how Jesus sent out the disciples on mission.
- God wants us to act wisely and use what he has given us intelligently.
- Are you using what God has given you wisely and generously? Or are you just sitting on it?
- The wisest, most significant thing you can do with your resources is to generously pour them into causes that will outlast you. William James once said, “The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” The same is true with our money.
- There will be an end to our opportunity to be generous.
- The manager’s time was limited—he would soon be left out in the cold. He had to act immediately.
- One day, death will come to you. Hebrews 9:27 reminds us of this. You have no idea when that day will come.
- Show a stopwatch. Say, “You have a limited time to make a kingdom-sized difference in this world through your generosity. The time to be generous isn’t tomorrow. It’s today.”
- Illustration: In the movie Schindler’s List, businessman Oscar Schindler arranges to protect his workers from being murdered during the Holocaust. He saves more than 1,100 people from death. But in the movie’s final scene, he is haunted by how many more people he could have saved if he would have spent his money differently.
- The manager prepared for his end. He did by preparing for it. He made friends—friends that could be a part of his life when he no longer had a job.
- We all should live with the realization that our life on Earth is limited. We need to make the most of the time we have and use it to prepare for eternity.
Explore two more sermon outlines centered on stewardship in the Bible—and all the resources that go with them. Download the free Sermon Generosity Kit now.
- How Charitable Is Your Church? 7 Ways to Increase Giving
- They Think They’re Tithing, but Are They Really?
- How to Set Up Online Giving at Your Church
- The Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure by Ken Blanchard
- Giving and Tithing by Larry Burkett
- Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views by David A. Croteau, et al.