Stewardship Ministries


(April 2017)

One Sabbath Jim was particularly looking forward to attending church. The previous few days had been difficult in the workplace. The boss was on his case. The company was in trouble and he wondered if he would still have a job by the end of the month. Serious matters for Jim and his family, but he was looking forward very much to Sabbath study time and worship.

With Bible in hand he joined his usual Sabbath School study group. He liked the lessons about the Holy Spirit – the personal presence of Jesus in our lives today. “I am so thankful for His presence in my life, what would I do without Him?” he thought to himself. The lesson study was interesting, with much friendly discussion and participation. As the first bell signalled it would soon be time to end, he suddenly realised a problem. Great conversation, great fellowship, quite a few new insights about the Holy Spirit, but not once did the teacher invite the group to open the Bible.

“How strange,” thought Jim, but never gave it another thought as he joined his family in their familiar pew for worship. Whatever pressures he had faced in the week, for his family to worship together and hear a ‘Word from the Lord’, meant everything to him. Meeting God in His time and place, returning a faithful tithe and giving for the Lord’s work, reminded Jim that Christ is the ultimate priority in his life, and that meant so much.

It was indeed a sermon about ‘being faithful in all things.’ “How relevant,” he thought as his pastor opened well with the story of Abraham. He liked his pastor, a caring, down-to-earth individual, enthusiastic, and well organised. As the sermon progressed, reference was given to a study about how people of faith seem to be generally more content than others, and can even expect to live longer. By now the tempo of the pastor increased, with the refrain, “By Faith...!” Connecting his work issues with Abraham’s faith, Jim identified so much with what the pastor was saying that he felt compelled, several times, to affirm with an audible “Amen”.

The pastor concluded with an appeal. “We need more of Abraham’s faith. More than that, we need the faith of Jesus!” The response hymn was ‘All to Jesus I surrender.’

Jim went home with his family encouraged, but perplexed. He had enjoyed the sermon, but distressed that during his time at church, not once had he been invited to open his Bible. “Tasted good, but left empty,” he concluded. It reminded him of a little rhyme he had learnt a long time ago:

If you have the Spirit without the Word, you blow up.
If you have the Word without the Spirit, you dry up.
If you have both the Word and the Spirit, you grow up.

Musing over those words he muttered to himself, “Perhaps next Sabbath, things will be different.”

First Things 1st is the monthly blog of the Stewardship Ministries Department of the Trans-European Division. The purpose is to restore and strengthen the principles of biblical stewardship, leading to a strong, mature, and joyful faith in Christ for those we serve.  Photo credit: Silja Leknes [ADAMS]

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Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
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