Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Isaiah 22:14–18; 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2; Colossians 2:2, 3; Ephesians 6:13–17; 2 Corinthians 5:10
It’s one of the biggest sexual abuse scandals in the history of sports. More than 150 women have come forward to make public statements that they were abused by Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team physician. Statements began in September 2016, and include former USA Gymnastics team members. Women who were sexually abused under the pretense of Nassar providing medical treatment have filed hundreds of lawsuits against him.
After pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison, but later pleaded guilty to further charges that piled on an additional 40 to 175 years in prison. Michigan State University has been accused of enabling Nassar’s abuse and both the university president and head athletic director resigned last week. Further investigation found widespread “denial, inaction and information suppression” by officials “from campus police to the Spartan athletic department” that went well beyond the Nassar incident.1
In our continuing study of stewardship in this quarter’s Sabbath school lesson, our focus turns to being good stewards after the fall of Adam and Eve. In a broken world, our first parents were still given the responsibility to care for our planet, even though sin tainted the original creation. We are not excused from properly caring for the environment, our finances, our families, our talents, and whatever is entrusted into our hands.
The Nassar scandal is an example of broken stewardship. In a quote from Sunday’s lesson, the application is clear. “The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord’s goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 246). Nassar was entrusted with the care of students and he violated that trust repeatedly.
While we may not have broken trust in as severe a manner as Nassar, we should remember that God has still called each of us to be stewards of the precious treasures given us—our families and friendships, our spiritual gifts and time, our planet and our bodies. Most of all, we are to be stewards of spiritual truth. If we hold to ourselves the knowledge of salvation and are unwilling to share life-saving truths with others, we imperil the lives of others as well as our own.
~ For Reflection
Connection: Write a list of all the things of which you are a steward (broad categories, not detailed items). Circle the items that belong to a person and put a star next to the items that belong to God.
Sharing: Reflect on Ephesians 6:13-17, which talks about taking up the armor of God. How does this passage help us to be good stewards?
1. The word “stand” is used repeatedly in the passage. God’s stewards are alert and ready to defend what belongs to the Lord.
2. We are to be stewards of our own lives; we cannot fight the enemy with our own power.
3. The knowledge of truth that is lodged in our minds and hearts should be guarded more than anything else.
4. God equips us with everything we need to be good stewards. We don’t need to be unprepared for attacks by the enemy.
5. A steward is watchful of his master’s goods, just as we are to be watchful over our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Applying: Write a list of each item in the “armor of God” (from Ephesians 6:13-17) and explain how each one helps us to be stewards for God as we care for that which has been entrusted to us.
Valuing: Reflect on the concept of being a steward of the gospel. How might you practically watch over the message of God’s saving grace?
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