Sitting in my prayer chair one morning this week and the Holy Spirit downloaded this article (it's a little long but worth it I think) on stewardship to me. Thankfully I have a recording facility on my GoogleKeep app which types to my voice. I know it's for the next message I get to preach on a Sunday, but perhaps it's helpful to my readers here. Stewardship has long been one of my 'passion' subjects too.
Stewardship curates for the future, it multiplies and endeavours to create a legacy. It provides for the future. It demands accountability from us for all that we have. It asks what is the wisest use of what I have available to me right now?. It asks how to use what we have now, including God's added provision, to build or provide for the future?. Stewardship is not about selfish personal use but considers the impact on others around us has in the way we use and curate what we have. Stewardship preserves purpose and carries a higher purpose than self. It is not wasteful and endeavours to make the very best of what you have regardless of how much or how little you have.
Stewardship is pragmatic and wise in it's acquisitions. Good stewardship requires knowledge and skill and decisions regarding it are not to based on emotions, but rather Spirit led paired with commonsense and good management. When we add faith and God's miraculous provision and ability, Holy Spirit guided stewardship can create and build beyond our wildest dreams.
Jesus stewarded the fishes and the loaves with faith and the understanding of who he is as the Son of God. We too have that same faith, creativity and authority to steward what God gives us and take it from the impossible into the possible. Godly stewardship creates. It takes what we already have and extends the life of what we have or multiplies it. This stewardship applies to both our practical natural life and our spiritual life here on Earth.
We are given wealth in all kinds of forms to steward. Wealth refers to any assets and resources we may have that we can use and multiply for ourselves or others. This is not only to build a legacy for our children as the Bible says we should, but also to help build the kingdom here on Earth. That can take many forms from providing finance through to investing in our community in some way to having a business that provides jobs, to having a home that is a place of refuge, to sharing our abundance or time with a neighbour in need. Resources that we have maybe in the form of a skill a gift or a talent that we can nurture and grow and use wisely for the benefit of ourselves and others and to ultimately testify of God's goodness.
STEWARDSHIP IS NOT BEING TIGHTFISTED
Stewardship is not being tightfisted and poverty minded nor is it taking our liberty and freedom in Christ as an excuse to be unwise with what we have. For example we may have a limited income and in our liberty in Christ feel that it's okay to buy 10 bottles of Coke a week, but stewardship says buy one bottle a week and use the rest of that money to pay off a debt or sow a seed for the future. The Bible says we may do what we like but it is not always in our best interest to do so. We may be extremely wealthy and be able to purchase 10 cars but stewardship says I can only drive one car at a time, what good purpose can I put the value of those other 9 cars to use?. Warren Buffett one of the wealthiest men in the world, still lives in the first house he purchased as a young man. That may not be what we need to do but it illustrates a good point. Also, most of us have heard the saying that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Sometimes it is better to spend $200 buying a pair of shoes that will last you 10 years then spending $40 every year for 10 years buying cheap shoes. If you only have the $40 to spend then stewardship requires that you buy as wisely as possible. We are also to steward our time and our assets and belongings . That means taking the very best care that we can of them so that they last well and retain as much value as possible. For example teaching our children not to jump on the furniture and wreck it or washing our house once a year to preserve the paint work.
MY PERSONAL EXAMPLE
Stewardship may not always make sense to those who are looking in from the outside. Holy Spirit guided stewardship knows what is required for the future so your decisions now must come from relationship with the Father.
When my family and I moved from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty we went looking for a basic three bedroom house. We only had two children, so didn't need a great deal more than that. We also had what we thought was a limited amount of purchase money. We arranged to see 8 houses in one day. None of them 'seemed right'. The agent suggested looking at one last house that wasn't on the list because she didn't really think it was what we were looking for. We went up the stairs and into the lounge and we both knew that was the house. It had 5 bedrooms, 2 lounges and 2 garages. Much too big for our needs, but at a ridiculously great price that we could afford. It was a good solid house we didn't really need to do much to.
We got remarks from people over the years about our need for such a big house. But it was God's provision. Over the 15 years we lived there, we had 4 different people come and live with us for extended periods of time. We added an extra family member in that time too. We hosted large gatherings for meals, and the downstairs double bedroom eventually became an office for hubby and I as we worked from home. God knew what we needed ahead of time.
That home also increased hugely in value, enabling us to buy the next house, renovate that enough to sell it at a profit, and then buy the beautiful property we now live on. Even in being able to do that, we know it is God's strategy for a future provision, including our retirement.
OUR SPIRITUAL WEALTH
We are given spiritual gifts, resources and opportunities that we are to steward for the sake of the Kingdom. At it's worst ungodly stewardship by God's people is driven by personal agenda, selfishness, greed and the seduction of the ways of the world. It is short sighted and easily persuaded by the voice of others.
We are given a purpose and / or calling to build God's kingdom here on Earth. We are required to steward that wisely and intentionally. Every time we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit for growth in our relationship with God we are stewarding that purpose. What God has given us spiritually is for the benefit of others. Stewardship demands that our resources, either spiritual or natural, do not sit on the shelf and grow dormant and not increase.
Stewardship asks God for strategies to use and increase what we already have. The resources we require to increase and multiply what we have are already waiting for us to access them in heaven. We must be alert to God speaking to us in all kinds of ways about how we are to steward what he has given us. This may come in the form of inspired ideas, witty inventions, divine connections, opportunities, strategies for how and when to use what we have, or prompting from the Holy Spirit for a particular course of action. When we ask God to reveal what is written in our books of Destiny he will download to us the strategies and resources we need. Stewardship may require us to step out of our comfort zones to walk in faith and obedience not always understanding what God is doing but he knows the end from the beginning.
STEWARD OUR TIME AND OUR BODIES
We are also given time to steward well. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't rest and take time to recharge when we need to. Are we spending our time the way God wants us to? Are we watching to much TV, spending too much time on Facebook? These are good questions to talk to Him about.
Last year God really laid it on my heart to steward my body better. I have arthritis in my feet and my knees. I have had to change my food habits considerably to reduce the swelling and the pain so I can function better. Eliminating sugar, processed foods and meat means that I have more energy and my brain is more awake and working better. Our physical health is important and when we abuse our bodies with food that is not good for us we limit our capacity to function at our best.
STEWARDING WHAT GOD IS ABOUT TO BRING
Whatever that is for us, whether something in the natural, or just the goodness of God poured out on your journey with Him, through to healing and restoration in areas of your life - stewardship gives thanks, gratitude and praise. It looks for a way to bring future blessing out of what we have been given. God has promised He is pouring out His goodness and sweetness upon us this year (2019). I want to steward that well so that I don't lose it and I don't waste it.
Blessings in abundance