Stewards Living with Purpose – 1 LSB #’s 525:1, 3-5, 947, 783
Text – 1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
All to the Glory of God
Stewards Living with Purpose will be an educational & enjoyable 4 weeks in our congregation as we look at the purposes that God gives to us – His stewards. Yahweh tells us through the Apostle Paul that He “…desires all people to be saved & to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
You & I are God’s instruments or channels through which He works to share the life-saving Gospel with all people. He calls each of us to use our time, talents & resources faithfully to be His light in a dark world. We are called to use all of God’s gifts for the purpose of helping others to know His Son Jesus.
In our relationships with God & others, we have the purpose of giving Him glory through our witnessing, loving, serving & giving. Today’s message focuses on one Scripture verse – 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God is telling us through the Apostle Paul that we are to “do all to the glory of God.”
God wants & deserves to be glorified; however, it is in our nature to resist giving Him glory. Each & every day Satan is encouraging us to put ourselves first. Satan works on our selfish ambition, pride, arrogance, or other character flaws to get in the way of serving & glorifying God with our heart, mind & strength.
Rather than give God glory, our thoughts are more like “What’s in it for me?” Me, mine & myself are words that reveal our focus on ourselves. In a question-and-answer session after one of his lectures, the sainted author C. S. Lewis was asked which of the world’s religions gives its followers the greatest happiness. Lewis paused & said this, “While it lasts, the religion of worshiping oneself is best.” He went on to say that when short-term happiness is identified as the most important thing, it is the self we seek above all else. Theologian Richard Baxter wrote, “Man’s fall was his turning from God to himself.” This seeking of self leads to boredom & depression & downfall.
Turning to ourselves & seeking self-will, rather than the Lord’s will, is one of the biggest obstacles to a relationship with Jesus. We are far healthier if we seek to answer these questions instead, “What are my true motives? Where is my heart?”
In the OT book written by Joshua, he exhorts all the tribes of Israel to choose whom they will serve. He then says, “But for me & my house, we will serve the Lord.” (24:15) The bold choice made by Joshua serves as a pattern for making the wisest choice of all – the choice to serve & glorify God no matter what.
Spiritually, every person has only two choices: serve God or serve self. In life, choices are rarely so clear. That’s because Satan is hard at work creating all that gray area, making it difficult to discern between foolishness & wisdom. The pro-Choice movement plays that to a T, never once mentioning the rights or the dreams of the human being that gets eliminated.
Of all the gifts that God gives, time is one of the more difficult to use to God’s glory. How are we choosing to spend the time we are blessed with? Focusing on ourselves, we may choose to work hard at a career, neglecting time in prayer, Bible study or in worship. We may rationalize that we are providing for our families because after all, that is important & good.
It is easy to get our priorities in the wrong order. Perhaps, we convince ourselves that once we start making more money, get a bigger house, or pay down some debt, then we’ll have time to spend with God & be active in church. What’s happening is that we are living in that gray area where poor choices are often made. We do what we want because we talk ourselves into believing that God is not that concerned with what I’m doing today. We know that God is patient so we think He’ll wait for us to get around to fulfilling His purpose for us. When we stop trying to please God & give Him glory, we are elevating ourselves to God’s level by deciding what we want God to accept. Satan is crafty & He skews our thoughts.
Thinking about Joshua’s choice to serve God, we might be led to focus on what God wants & what we are able to do about it. Yahweh alone enables us to give Him glory. We need to live above what others think about what we are doing. Joshua clung to God’s will for himself & his family, carrying out his Lord’s purpose – above what others thought.
I’m reminded of the story about three teens who were talking of their future plans. One of them talked of being a doctor because he could have fame & people would come to him & be helped. He saw becoming a doctor as a way to gain popularity & recognition. His purpose in life was to be famous.
Another listened & decided he might like to be a doctor too. He described the car his doctor drove, a Ferrari, & shared that being a doctor would mean he could have the Lamborghini he admired. He then started into a dissertation listing all the things his parents couldn’t afford that he would have. His purpose in life was to gain wealth.
The third teen was confused. He thought a few moments & then shared his desire to do something that God wanted him to do. Maybe that meant becoming a doctor, or maybe he would be a nurse. His purpose in life was to glorify God through serving others. As he shared his purpose of serving people, the other teens laughed at him.
We may be laughed at or ridiculed, yet there is no ambiguity in the theme verse from 1 Corinthians, “…do all to the glory of God.” It’s easy to recognize that we give God glory in our prayers & in our time here, but God created us to give Him glory in all things. To serve God & to give Him glory involves relationships with family & neighbors, our time at work & in school, our time in church, & our leisure activities. God is glorified when we thank Him for all of our gifts & blessings. Do we wake up each day giving God glory for the gift of that new day? Are we giving God glory for our vocation as parents, students, brothers or sisters?
We give God glory when go about our daily tasks in His name, doing the best that we can in all that we do. God is glorified when we allow Him to work through us. In these ways the Holy Spirit furthers the kingdom, serves the common good, & glorifies our Creator.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself & take up his cross daily & follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) Being a disciple & a faithful steward is to practice self-denial. Jesus taught that denying self is an essential aspect of the Christian life.
Born in this sinful state of putting ourselves first, we need the Holy Spirit’s power to resist our natural desire to be self-centered rather than God-centered. On our own, we are hopeless, but, the Holy Spirit through Word & Sacrament enables us to use our lives & blessings according to God’s plan for His glory.
As transformed people, we serve the Lord as He equips & motivates us. We have the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation, & we have the life-saving Word “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction & for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
The ascended Christ, seated at the right hand of God, is working all things for good for those called according to His purpose. Perfect, we will never be, but we have the assurance that, because of Jesus’ death & resurrection, we are forgiven.
We fail again & again to give God glory in all that we do, but God knows our hearts. He will pick us up & encourage us to keep going in our pursuit to give Him the glory that He deserves. It is fitting in the 1st week of this stewardship emphasis Stewards Living with Purpose that we are focusing on the purpose “…do all to the glory of God.” We understand that the purpose of life is not just fun, friends, & fulfillment, or any number of the other things we may be tempted to make our focus & purpose. No, we are stewards of God’s glory.
The theme for next week in the series Stewards Living with Purpose is “Be My Witnesses.” We are called to share the life-saving Gospel with people near & far. In two weeks, we’ll focus on our purpose of serving & helping those in need. The theme for the last week is “Generous in Every Way.”
God called us to do “All to the glory of God.” May He help us commit our time, talents & money for His purpose because the ultimate glory we can give to our Lord is trust & believe in His promise of our salvation. Amen.
O Jesus Christ, the only Son begotten of the Father, Your saving death has made us one with God & with each other. O Lamb of God, to You on high in our distress we sinners cry, have mercy on us, amen! O Holy Spirit, our delight & source of consolation, protect us from the devil’s might through Jesus, our salvation, Who by His death upon a tree has rescued us from misery: to this we hold forever. Amen.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet