DNA: Commanded To Be Whole-Life Stewards

(1 Timothy 6:17-19)

February 18, 2024

Now, I’ll admit that this is probably a strange word to some of your ears and to others, it is a word you know and understand, but you don’t like and still to others it is an exciting word. 

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines stewardship this way: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward, it also says: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something.

Stewardship is a topic that is very near and dear to the heart of Jesus, as a matter of fact, did you know that Jesus taught more on this topic than either Heaven or Hell.  

He taught more on this topic than love or fear.  

This was a topic that Jesus cherished because he looked at life through an eternal lens. 

The reason I believe Jesus spent so much time talking about stewardship is that as Jesus, God incarnate, God walking in a suit of flesh, living in his creation with his created beings knew how much we struggled with the concept of stewardship.

Biblical stewardship starts with the very first verse of the Bible. 

Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

As the Creator, God has absolute rights of ownership over all things, and to miss starting here is like misaligning the top button on our shirt or blouse—nothing else will ever line up. 

Nothing else in the Bible, including the doctrine of stewardship, will make any sense or have any true relevance if we miss the fact that God is the Creator and has full rights of ownership. 

It is through our ability to fully grasp this and imbed it in our hearts and minds that the doctrine of stewardship is understood.

The biblical doctrine of stewardship defines a man’s relationship to God. 

It identifies God as owner and man as manager. 

God makes man His co-worker in administering all aspects of our life. 

The apostle Paul explains it best in 1 Corinthians 3:9, For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Starting with this concept, we are then able to accurately view and correctly value not only our possessions, but, more importantly, human life itself. 

In essence, stewardship defines our purpose in this world as assigned to us by God Himself. 

It is our divinely given opportunity to join with God in His worldwide and eternal redemptive movement (Matthew 28:19-20). 

Stewardship is not God taking something from us; it is His method of bestowing His richest gifts upon His people.

This is why Jesus taught about this topic more than any other. 

What we have is not ours, it’s God’s and we are to use it however He instructs us, including giving. 

When Jesus talked about the concept of stewardship, it included giving. 

The cost of living is rising at rapid rates.  

I don’t have to tell you that, you know that.  

We notice it when we pay at the pump, or check out with our groceries.  

We feel the crunch on our wallet when we purchase clothes or shoes.  

For some people this winter is scary to them because they are not sure if they will be able to heat their homes.  

And if that is you, please talk to one of our elders or staff at the end of our service, because we have a benevolence ministry that may be able to help you.

With the cost of living on the rise it seems almost absurd for us to discuss the concept of giving, but stewardship is God’s economy.

I really want us to be good stewards of everything God has entrusted us with. 

Now, when I say everything He has entrusted us with I am talking about more than just our finances, I am talking about our time, our talents, our service for the Kingdom, the way in which we use everything for God’s glory, and we have talked about several of these in our other sermons in this series like being Created to Worship God, Commissioned to Seek Lost People, Growing in Christ, Caring for One Another, in the next couple of weeks we will be talking about our stewardship of prayer and service. 

But today as we talk about whole-life stewardship we are going to focus on the primary topic that distracts so many from God, as a matter of fact, this is often replaces God in many peoples lives and I am talking about money. 

So, I really want us to be good stewards of everything God has entrusted us with.

Because we are…


As we look at stewardship I want to look at it a little bit differently than what we have looked at in the past.  

I want us to look at it from the perspective of being rich

Many of us don’t believe we are rich, and so some of us are going to shut down and say, this doesn’t apply to me. 

But, here is the truth of the matter, The global median daily income was only $2.95 in 1990. By 2019, that median reached $7.56, and while this might not seem like a lot, it’s a huge relative increase.

This a study conducted by Jack Flynn in an article entitled: Average Global Income [2023].  

How many of us blow $10 on unnecessary items in a day; like Starbucks, McDonald’s.  

If you have a job making minimum wage in Illinois it only takes you one hours to make almost 100% more than some people will make all day.  

2022: The World Bank updated the global poverty line from $1.90 to $2.15 per day.

2023: About 9.2% of the world’s population, or approximately 719 million people, are living on a daily income of less than $2.15.

I hear people all the time talking about how poor they are…if you eat tonight or today either in a restaurant or in your home whether you eat a steak or a bologna sandwich you are blessed.  

Each day, 25,000 people, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. 

Some 854 million people worldwide are estimated to be undernourished, and high food prices may drive another 100 million into poverty and hunger.

I hear people talking about how poor they are while they have clothes on their backs Americans spent  177.2 billion on clothing.

I hear them saying it while sitting in their car Americans spent 110 billion on cars in one year. 

We are not poor we just don’t know how to handle our wealth and the reason we don’t know how to handle our wealth is because we may not know that we are rich. 

There is a really cool website called: www.howrichami.givingwhatwecan.org 

I played around with it a little and I put in the average household income of a person living in Macomb, IL which is, $33,588. 

I believe that is way low, because that encompasses our college students, if it were just residents I believe that would be higher, because we are talking household income. 

But let’s just stick with the $33,588. 

If that is your income and you are a husband and wife with one child you are in the richest 13.5% of the global population.

Let’s double that and say you have a household income of $67,176, husband, wife and 2 kids…you are in the richest 6.7% of the global population, your income is 8.8 times the global median.

Now, let’s say you make 100,000 household, husband, wife, 4 kids…you are in the richest 5.8% of the global population and your income 9.6 times more than the global median. 

Sometimes I think we say we are poor just because someone else has more toys than we do. 

We do not have the inalienable right to such things as big screen TV’s, new/old cars, or the biggest house on the block we don’t have a right to cable or cell phones.  

The problem is a lot of people think they are entitled to what everyone around them has this is that love of money and that is why Jesus taught so much about stewardship and in doing so he addressed the issue of money.  

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus teaches that nothing is gained by winning the world (the material riches of the world) if the soul is lost. 

In Mark’s Gospel Jesus teaches that wealth can become an obstacle in hearing the Gospel message. 

In Luke, Jesus addresses the issue of wealth because his Gospel teaches the reversal of earthly order.  

Paul addresses the issue of wealth and money and Paul teaches it based on the “fullness of goods.”  

And Paul’s teaching seems to focus on the responsibility of wealth or at least it does in the passage we are going to look at this morning and we need to look at this because


1 Timothy 6:17-19

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

The word command that Paul uses in vss. 17 & 18 is the Greek word παραγγέλλω [/par•ang•gel•lo/] and it means to instruct, declare or give a charge to.  

The charge or command that Paul lays on Timothy here is a charge in the name of Christ and is traced back to God’s saving work in Christ.  

Because this is a command there is a responsibility…Paul is saying command those who are rich to be responsible with their riches.  

God’s Word declares precisely how we are to live with our riches

– First we tithe (explain)

– We give offerings (explain)

– We live within our means (no debt)

– We live to give to others expecting nothing in return

– We give with a Kingdom purpose (Ralph Doudera, “Wealth Conundrum, Centipede/quarter).   

Here is the first charge of responsibility


We are not owners; we are stewards. 

If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part. 

The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.

Look there in vs. 17 and circle the word arrogant if in the NIV or conceited in the NASB it is the Greek word ὑψηλοφρονέω [hoop•say•lo•fron•eh•o/] and it means to literally be high minded.  

I like the way my grandmothers generation used to say, don’t be so uppity.  

That is Paul’s command to Timothy and in turn Timothy’s command to the people of Ephesus.  

Why would Paul make such a command?  

Because of the location of Ephesus it was one of the wealthiest cities in the world at that time.  

It was a city of commercial trade with a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, a true melting pot. 

It would look a lot like our New York City today.  

This is why Paul might make this command because people can become distracted by their wealthy.  

So what does it look like to be humble with your riches?  

Part of being humble with your riches is not flaunting them in front of others.  

I am not saying don’t share your riches I am saying don’t flaunt them.   

– Boy, some people want you to know just how much they have.  

– They want you to ask them how much they make.  

– They want to impress you with the wads of cash.  

– They like the attention.

Most of you know that I am not really a big baseball fan, but I really appreciated one Cardinals player a few years ago, David Eckstein.  

Though he was a very wealthy individual he was not arrogant in his wealth.  

He used the internet at the public library to save money, he drove his early 90’s Honda Accord that his sister gave him when he was in High School.  

Some of us are arrogant even when we may not be considered wealthy.  

I grew up for a number of years in a 4 room house, my mom married and we were like the Jefferson’s, we were movin’ on up.  

My dad died and it took everything we had for medical bills and funeral expenses and then we were movin’ on down.  

Back to the same 4 room house, not 4 bedrooms, 4 rooms.  

We had plenty.  

Our house was filled with guys from my football team nearly every night for supper.  

But I didn’t want my girlfriend to see where I lived.  

I didn’t think she would like me if she knew where I lived, that wasn’t very fair to her, but I was arrogant in that. 

Another responsibility we are to have in regards to wealth is:


People can be rich yet poor. 

Externally a man may appear to be rich but internally he may be poor. 

This is a common thing in the world.  

People put their trust in wealth and not God and when this happens they are never satisfied.  

– Some may have all the money needed for a bed – but can’t sleep.

– They can buy books – but not intelligence.

– They can buy food – but not appetite.

– They can buy nice clothes and jewelry – but not beauty.

– They can buy a house – but not a home.

– They can buy medicine – but not health.

– They can buy fun – but not happiness.

– They can buy sex – but not love.

James talks about this idea of being responsible with our wealth as well listen:

James 5:1-5, Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

Nothing material in this world will last forever. 

The seeds of death and decay are found in all of creation. 

It is a great mistake to think there is security in wealth.

Riches are uncertain. 

The money market fluctuates from hour to hour, and so does the stock market. 

Add to this the fact that life is brief, and we cannot take wealth with us, and you can see how foolish it is to live for the things of this world.

Jesus said in Luke 12:20, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Trust in God not your wealth. 

Another responsibility we are to have in regards to wealth is:


That is right…enjoy.  

There are a number of people I know that are riddled with guilt because of their wealth.  

Missionary friends, PNG, where going to build a hut like everyone else, the people of the area encouraged them to build a house, they could afford it and not neglect their Kingdom contributions or service.  

God doesn’t want us to feel guilt if he has blessed us with wealth, instead he wants us to live responsibly with that wealth.  

But, God does not want us to be preoccupied by our wealth…that is to say that we cannot put it before Him.  

Also, enjoying our wealth does not mean developing a lifestyle of self seeking pleasure, self-satisfaction, self-gratification or self-indulgence in the pleasures of the world.  

Instead continue to develop a lifestyle of self-denial.

Enjoy what God gives us. 

One final thought on how to live when we are rich, which is to live responsibly is this:



We should use our wealth to do good to others; we should share; we should put our money to work. 

When we do, we enrich ourselves spiritually, and we make investments for the future. 

Are we using whatever it is that God has blessed us with in order to do ministry for His Kingdom?  

I want to leave you with one practical application to implement in your life. 

And I want to preface this with these words from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The word heart in the Greek means the seat of desires, passions, appetites, and the like, it is what drives or motivates a person to action.  

That is the heart and so how do we develop the heart of a giver.  

Well, it is a battle, It is the initial battle against the selfish self that says, “get, keep, and take.”  

Those deep-seeded desires and emotions do not just superficially go away.  

They must be slaughtered.  

At first, I think giving may require determination, obligation, and even the gritting of teeth.

While we never hope giving will remain such, I think it is OK for you start where you are emotionally.   

Craig Ford, Former Missionary to PNG wrote a wonderful article on the topic of heartfelt giving and I want to share with you some thoughts from that article.  

– Perhaps you give because someone said that you should give.  

– Perhaps you give because you feel guilty when you don’t. 

– Perhaps you give because a spouse is forcing you. 

– Perhaps you give because of fear. 

Then the advice I have for you is simple.  


Start where you are, and let God form you through the act of giving start right by tithing and being obedient to it.  

A tithe is your first 10% from your gross income…so, if you make $1,000/wk, your tithe would be $100/wk. 

Quick exercise, write down what you make and figure out your tithe. 

If you attend church here on a regular basis, you should be tithing, because it is a part of your worship, we are commanded to be whole-life stewards. 

We would never tell someone, don’t sing, don’t fellowship, don’t listen to the Word, but for some weird reason we feel like we have to apologize and tell people they don’t have to give. 

I heard that someone, I don’t remember who, told someone else, here, hey don’t feel like you have to put anything in the black box, you don’t have to do that. 

Listen, that worship and we should never encourage someone not to worship. 

And tithing is a commitment to the Lord, and it is obedience to God’s Word, so please never tell someone, “you don’t have to do that.” 

It all belongs to God and look at what it cost him…God is rich and it cost him his richest and most cherished treasure of all…His only Son.  

This is the cost of living…when you are rich.  

And this is what it means to be a WHOLE-LIFE STEWARD. 

Leave a comment