Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
Matthew 20:1,2 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage, he sent them into his vineyard.”
Cultivate is not a term we use in the normal course of our daily conversations within the urban/city life. Those who farm or have gardens understand the term as preparing and working their land in order to raise crops. It is a stewardship preparation for the anticipated harvest to come. Thinking about the passages we just read, there are two directives that we can see.
The first directive can be called,The Genesis Effect. We are called to cultivate our own vineyards. Personal stewardship causes us to mature and bear fruit in our lives and then to promulgate (to make widespread) what we have learned so others see us as living examples of Stewardship. Under this directive is what one could call the Proverbial Effect. That is the place of digging (personal prayer life), planting (reading the Word of God), and weeding out sin in our lives so there can be righteous fruit. Proverbs 12:11 “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.”
A second directive can be called the Church Vineyard Effect. This type of stewardship is a real challenge, because it takes one beyond the normal things we think about in our personal stewardship to the larger realm of “Cultivating Stewardship with others”. Cultivating Stewardship with others is the multiplication of self. You are intentionally building discipleship relationships. TJC has set Gospel Communities in place as a prime example of how to cultivate, plant and harvest. Internally it happens in the relationships you build with others, which produces maturing fruit and then the mature ones are planted in a new GC. This is Stewardship at its best, multiplying the disciples of God’s Vineyard. Paul said it best in Col. 1:28 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ”.
Under the Church Vineyard Effect is the larger Vineyard of God beyond the doors of our church. This is where you plant your feet every day in Cultivating Stewardship with others that includes your husband, wife, children, grandchildren, places of work, places of play and neighbors. There is actually an endless list of relationships to cultivate.
In the Cultivating of Stewardship, we must always remind ourselves, that the Spirit of God gives us the strength and abilities to be His Stewards. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The truth be known, there is an endless garden to cultivate in the world around us, just as the Word reminds us, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35b
-TJC Elder, James Ulmer
If you are interested in intentionally building discipleship relationships, join us Sunday May 15 at 5pm for GC CONNECT. It will be a time to connect with the new GC’s (gospel communities) at TJC. Childcare will be provided.
Download Article: Cultivating Stewardship with Others