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“Stewardship - Our Mission of Bringing Others To Christ!” - Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Sermon - Church Army Sister Andrea Taylor-Smith


(Stewardship – using our time talent and treasure to bring others to Christ)


Let us pray - Merciful God, you called us forth from the dust of the earth; you claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism. Look upon us as we enter these Forty Days bearing the mark of ashes, and bless the journey through the desert of Lent to the celebration of Easter. Amen


Good morning Church, God is good ____ and all the time?_____.


Do you know that the bible has the answer for every situation? Early one morning the husband and wife were arguing over who should get out of the warm bed to make the coffee. Finally, the wife folded her arms and said decidedly, “You have to make the coffee. It’s in the Bible!”

The husband was shocked. “Is not! Show me!”

Pulling out her Bible, the wife opened it to one of the New Testament books and declared, “It says right here — HEBREWS!”


It is another Ash Wednesday and so we come together to reflect on who we are, whose we are, and knowing the answer to those questions leads us to what is our purpose, what we are called to do. Today is a day more than almost any other which reminds us our mortality. When the Priest places the dust of the Palms from Palm Sunday on our foreheads, we are reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return, this should put our life in Christ into a proper perspective of humility. We are also invited to stop the whirlwind of life and activities that surround us on all sides and remember: God hates nothing God has made; God forgives the sins of all who are penitent; our God is the “God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness.”


We are dust, but we are indeed Holy dust, Genesis tells us that when God created human, he made us from the dirt and he breathe the breath of life into us and man became a living being. We have the Spirit of God living within us. We are created by God, and through Christ we are adopted into the family of God. It is God’s grace and mercy that continually carry’s us through, it is God who provides, who protects, who guides and keep us. We know this!!! We know who we are and whose we are – we are people of God, save by the blood of Christ who calls us to not keep it to ourselves but as good stewards, as people with a task, a mandate we are called to share this knowledge and our relationship and experience of God with others so that they too can experience the salvation which we treasure and a knowledge of the love of God and our hope in him.

Our people, our country needs the saving and transforming blood of Christ.


There are many, especially our young people, coming up who don’t know of the saving power of Chris and I said it in Church on Sunday and I will say it again today. We have watered down God!! God is not "peawn peawn"!! He is an awesome God!!


He created all things and holds everything together, He is all powerful, all knowing, He is just. But because of his great love and his mercy to us, we sometimes forget who we worship!! Like the Israelites, they feared God so much they were afraid to go near or even want to hear God because they might die, they said to Moses, you listen to God and tell us what he says but as soon as Moses turned his back they were doing all kinds of things, worshiping calves and false gods. Sometimes we are like that we give God lip service and our actions and our lives say something else, but God is merciful.

Scripture says not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom but he who does the will of the Father and what is God’s will Micah 6:8 reminds us what does God require oh man, but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Jesus says go into the world making disciples of all people. God wants us to walk with him and care for each other. Jesus calls us to live our faith and share our faith to bring persons to a saving knowledge of God.


Our stewardship calls us to take what God has blessed us with and use it for his glory. There are three things that God has given us that I want to touch on today. They are the stewardship of our time, talent and treasure. The first is the stewardship of our time


Time

How do we use our time? Time never seems enough to do all the things that we need to do, and with each passing year time seems to get shorter and shorter or go by quicker and quicker. Our calling from God to be followers of Christ is one among many callings He has given to each of us. Some of us are also called to provide for our families, to care for young children, or to study, to be a part of social clubs. We should be faithful in each of these callings. Yet we should never use faithfulness in one calling as an excuse to forsake another.


How do we use our time for the kingdom? A tool of the devil is to keep us so busy that we do not have time for God’s work. Let us ensure that we find time to spend with God especially during this season of Lent we are called to prayer, meditation and fasting. And as we spend time connecting and communing with God, it should lead to us connecting with others, finding time for corporate worship, making time to share with others, helping others, serving in our churches. Even at work are we so focused on the job sometimes that we might miss someone who needs a word of encouragement, or a little word of prayer. We sometimes complain that things are happening in other churches around us and not in our church. We are the ones that makes things happen. We find for the things we want to find time for. How are we investing our time to profit the kingdom of God? How we spend our time both reveals and trains our hearts. Where our time goes, there our hearts will be also.


God does not ask us for our ability He asks for our availability and when we are available, He gives us the ability. He will give us the talent we need; He equips us for whatever he calls us to we just need to be willing and available. The next is the stewardship of our talent.

Talent

It is God who blesses us with the talents that we have, some persons are talented singers, some are dancers, some are artists and there are other gifts such as administration. Do you have a way for getting things done, and especially getting things done in a way that leaves all involved feeling encouraged and cared for? You may well have the gift of administration. Do you have a track record of serving those in need? You might have the gift of helping. You have person who when they pray for you, you can feel the ground beneath your feet move, you feel the presence of the Lord and it doesn’t have to be a long prayer, or big words, or loud, they just have a way of brining you to the throne of God and when they are done prayer you can say for sure it is well with my soul. That is a gift and a gift honed by time, time spent with the Lord.


So, we all have talents and gifts, some have one, others have many but the Lord gives to us as is needed and he calls us to use then not just to earn, not just for recognition but to build up the family of God. In 2015 Shelly Ann Frasier-Pryce posted the words of a song on her facebook page and it should be familiar to most if not all of us. She wrote "One talent have I, to take to the sky. While others are blessed with ten of the best. Why should I complain, from duty refrain. No never. No never, not I".

I applaud her for this, many who have received gifts and talents from God have used them to build their lives but have forgotten to give honour or to even remember the giver of all good gifts. I encourage us whatever your gift is use it where ever you are to give glory to God, to bring joy to bring joy to others and use it in your church to build up and uplift the body of Christ. Think outside of the box, share a poem you have written, make cookies for church or to cheer up someone in your community. It is our relationship with persons that gives us the opportunity to share our faith with them.


Treasure

Our Gospel reading reminds us “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


What do we treasure? What we treasure can be seen in our actions, in what we hold dear, what we hold close to our hearts. Some of us treasure our jobs, our education, our nice cars or homes. But there are other things that we treasure and some of these are not good for us. Are we treasuring bad habits are we treasuring secrets. Are some of these treasures useless or worthless. There are some treasures that we hang onto that we need to give to God to dispose of. You might be asking what I mean - sometimes we can treasure grudges or malice or bad mind, or hold on to hurt that you will never forget or you try to hurt or punish others. Can we offer that to God for him to get rid of for us, so that we can work on treasuring things that build up rather than tear down.


Treasures should be used to build us up and to build others as well. The things that we cling to that are not beneficial to us let God get rid of it for us, so that we can make room and store up good treasures. Let our storehouses be filled with good deeds, love, peace, forgiveness. As we fast this Lent let us fast from things that are negative and feast on good deeds, on the word of God, on the fruit of the spirit including, love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness and forgiveness.


Our world is so calloused, we see it every day, on the roads, in our schools, in our communities, on the news. We have to make a difference. We are called to be salt and light and to give hope. If we weren’t treasuring the wrong things maybe there wouldn’t be so many scammers. I wasn’t going to speak on money but every time we turn on the news there is a story of someone scamming and “chopping the line”, because where your treasure is there you heart will be also, and if they are willing to risk, life and limb, freedom and public embarrassment for them and their families for the money they acquire in scamming, can you imagine if we as Christians, put out in as much effort in loving and caring for each other, in sharing the good news of God in Christ, in praying for each other and in being forgiving, what a difference we would make in our homes and communities.


Church (the leaders) has a responsibility to use the good stewardship as persons give of their time talent and treasure.


The task ahead

Stewardship and evangelism are a part of our daily lives, it is something that is lived, it how we go through each day. Remember we preach more with our lives than with our words. So, our actions wherever we are at school, at work, at home on the field preaches more powerfully than our Sunday morning activity. So let use our time our talent our treasures to glorify God to build up our Church and to bring others to the joy of salvation. We are the church we want to see; we bring it into being. You are blessed with Priests and not just regular degula priest but some wonder spiritual leaders and good people. The kingdom is exciting the work of Christ not boring.


As church we have to be relevant, engage our culture, make room for everyone, there is work for everyone – man, woman, boy and girl. We have to have an open hand in ministry. We cannot hold on to what God call us to forever and we are called to prepare the youth of today to be our leaders of today and tomorrow. They have much to share they know the culture and technology more than us older ones. We have to make room for our young people and prepare them for the world that brings all kinds of things to them and if their foundation isn’t solid, they can lose their way. Today as we remember our mortality and God’s great love and sacrifice for us, let us hold tight to this knowledge and draw closer to God and

As the cross is made on our foreheads today let us commit or recommit ourselves to Stewardship. To caring for all God’s creation, caring for each other as much as we care for ourselves, to sharing ourselves and our faith, using all that God has given us and continues to give us to draw persons to the God of grace, mercy and love, and build up the kingdom and to glorify God.


I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back

No turning back

Church Army Sister Andrea Taylor-Smith

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