Bible Ballistics: Stewardship? August 11, 2013 Vol. 2 No.13
**We are trying a new format at the suggestion of a reader, and I’d love to have your feedback. It may seem to be a bit longer but is actually the same length in content just a bit more space taken to be easier to read, ponder and digest.**
After a wakeful night of prayer and deep contemplation, I feel compelled to write about a subject that often brings the ire of many. Stewardship? Why does this word stir the emotions of many in God’s kingdom, and for sure those on the peripheral of the church? Usually when people hear the word “stewardship”, the mind goes to dollar signs $$$. Does the term only mean money? Or is there a deeper principle that we need to search out? Well, let’s take our time together this week and see what we can find.
One meaning of the word “steward’, is
- ‘one who manages another’s property, or one whose responsibility it is to take care of something…’.
So who is the manager and to whom do the things belong that he/she exercises management over? We are the managers, and that’s what we will discuss this week. Those of us who are believers in Jesus and His Word should recognize that God is the ‘owner’ of all things. If you would, He is the creator, manufacturer, and the originator of all things.
- James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God is the source of all that we possess.
- Ecc. 3:13 “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” Our ability to “labor” for income is from God.
All gifts, including the ability to provide and gain income for ourselves is from our God. Every good gift—health, wealth (the possession of goods), time, gifts, talents, intelligence and knowledge, all of these are gifts from God and we are stewards of each of them.
What are my responsibilities toward my stewardship, and does God give instruction in regard to these things?
Let’s see what we can find.
- Ephesians 5:20 tells us “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
- All stewardship must begin with gratitude!!!!
An attitude of gratitude should permeate our lives in all that we do and have—time, money, work, gifts and talents as well as our personality and intellect.
- Am I walking in gratitude or greed? Paul tells us to, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5. Greed/covetousness is equal to idolatry. God said it, I didn’t.
- Am I greedy or generous?
- Do I hoard or share?
- Am I a keeper or a giver?
Do you see the possibilities? Are there behaviors I need to change to cultivate this attitude of gratitude?
What we’re talking about then is attitude not accounting!! Are we yielded to God in total? Are there areas over which I don’t allow God to have access or control? Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 9:6-11,
- “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness😉 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”
Giving and receiving are principles of the heart, and Jesus himself said that the heart is the source of our actions. Matt. 15:18-20,
- “ But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
- What is in my heart will come out… Jesus says that is what defiles, not unclean hands (or rituals). What’s in your heart? James 4:1-3 gives a good checklist,
- “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
So how am I to handle the resources that God has given me?
- Thinking ‘It’s all mine’?
- In presumption?
- In faith?
- In disarray?
- In order?
Paul makes it clear that we are not to act in the flesh, but in the Spirit and generosity. Eph 4:28 says,
- “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
According to this passage we are to gain to be able to give….. Kind of flies in the face of the great ‘American Dream”, doesn’t it, to gain for wealth’s sake alone?
Do we need to re-evaluate our own motives? Not to say that we are not to plan and prepare for the future, or the unexpected, but we are not to be solely focused on ourselves –but God and others. That’s why Paul could say in Phil 4:19,
- “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (See the context)
So what does this mean to me? How am I handling that which God has provided for me–everything?
- Am I acting presumptuously toward my possessions and spending money that I don’t really have in order to pursue a degree of wealth and/or success to which God has not led me? Or to impress others? To keep up with others?
- Am I basing my decisions on spiritual principles or earthly greed?
- Where does my money go?
- Want to see what you really love—look at your checkbook. Who do you pay the most?
- Fast food?
- Things you want but don’t really need?
- The latest, fastest, biggest ……?
- Presumptuous purchases?
- Do I make snap decisions without consulting God, my spouse or good godly counsel? (God tells us that husband and wife are to be “one”—that means not making isolated decisions without the consideration of the will of God, my spouse, or our calling and resources. Spending money I don’t have can be presumption).
- Am I in debt to fulfill my own lusts or the lusts of others. Real love is NOT over-indulgent.
I must do that which is best by God’s standard. Food for thought to last the week. Take it to Jesus—ask His advice and guidance. Open the BIBLE—measure your stewardship by God’s standard not the world’s. It’s not just dollars and cents……but an attitude of gratitude and submission to God. Blessings on your week.