Well, it’s that time of year again when we address the subject of stewardship. Yes, we unashamedly talk about money, but stewardship is much more than just how you save, spend, and give money. It is more about a lifestyle and a mentality.
When it comes to thinking about all we possess, most of us naturally gravitate towards an ownership mentality. We want to call the shots and be in control. It’s our time, our talents, our treasures, our children, our home, our career and our church.
May I share with you one of my favorite stewardship verses in the Bible that contains a probing question that has TKO’ed my penchant for ownership on more than one occasion? It simply states: “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7b)
There are many benefits to regularly asking this question. It keeps from the sinister game of comparing ourselves with others. It frees us from the need to compete with others. The ESV Study Bible simply states it like this: If Christians repeatedly ask this of themselves, it will produce deep humility, thanksgiving and generosity in their lives.
One of my first big, spiritual tests on this matter of stewardship or ownership came during the Spring semester of my freshman year in college. At the time, I was a tournament waterskier and had planned for several years to spend the upcoming summer at Cypress Gardens in Florida working as a show skier. However, the Lord was beginning to show me that He had a different plan for that summer and I began to consider whether He wanted me to serve on a short-term mission project in North Myrtle Beach, SC. I remember asking questions that had never crossed my mind before like: Lord, what would You have me to do? Lord, how do you want me to invest the three months of the summer? It was in those early days in college that I began the slow process of learning to live as a steward rather than an owner.
During this stewardship season at our church, I would ask you to pray for the Lord to change how you view all of your resources, abilities, opportunities, and blessings. There is nothing you have that you can properly call your own. NOTHING. All is received from God. Therefore, if everything you have belongs to God, then the most important question is: How does the Master want His resources invested to expand His work and will in this world?
One of the by-products of embracing our roles as stewards is that we become more open-hearted and open-handed with God’s resources to meet the needs of God’s missionary enterprise both here and around the world.
I have repeated challenged my kids on this matter of stewardship by reminding them of this: “Every day of your life you will view everything you possess as either an idol that will break your heart or a tool to use in the Lord’s kingdom service.” Which will it be for you and me? Lord, show us how to use everything that we have for Your kingdom and Your glory!