Habits and today’s reminder go hand in hand…if you are practice good stewardship, you have developed a habit. Pray for the strength and wisdom needed to be a good steward of your life so that Habits of Grace form.
Stewardship is another way of talking about ministry, how different would ministry look if we all thought in those terms—that we are accountable to God for what we do and with what he has trusted to us.
We are not the owners but have been trusted with resources and the care of everything—Creation, gifts, talents, money, time, and the gospel—for the sake of God’s purposes in the world.
We think of stewardship as “our tithes and offerings”, giving money to “fund the church”. But we should see that we’re trustees of talents, gifts, time, and treasure.
Questions (some of these may not be easy to talk about, but if we’re going to “get real with God” if we’re going to live as if we believe what we say we believe…these need to be thought about and answered.)
- When someone mentions your need to be a better steward of money and time, how do you typically respond?
- Which things hinder you from using your time the way God would have you use it? Be honest.
- Why should you give to God willingly, thankfully, and cheerfully?
Excerpts from I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said That: Finding Joy in the Inconvenience of Discipleship. – Steve Timmis
“If we are stewards, then nothing that we have belongs to us. So we must stop our thievery of living like things do.
- ‘I can’t have those people in my house!’ Guess what? It’s not your house.
- ‘I can’t use my car to run them around all the time.’ Problem solved. It’s not your car.
- ‘I can’t use my money to fund that project.’ That’s right . . . It’s not your money!
So you and I are stewards in God’s household. He may have entrusted you with money, health, a home, a computer, a car, and all so that you will use it for him and his glory. It is as though he is saying, ‘Okay, here it is; let’s see what you do with it. But remember, it is not yours.’ If I keep my money to myself or use my house as though it is my castle, then I am not a steward but a thief. The God I claim to worship is not conned by my devotions or religious activity.”
“As we’ve seen already, our actions expose our hearts. We always put our money where our hearts are. Our money always follows our affections. When our hearts have been seduced by Mammon, we are not worshiping the true God, but a false god, a cruel tyrant, an unforgiving and a miserable master. Mammon promises much but delivers absolutely nothing. Mammon demands everything and gives not even a scent of heaven in return for our investment. Mammon drives us to work all the hours there are, in order to get more. Mammon says, “Trust me with your future; allow me to make you into the person I want you to be.” No wonder Jesus pointed out the impossibility of serving both Mammon and God. No wonder this thing is uncomfortable. The god Mammon has won our hearts, and so we serve it with devotion and zeal. The true God just gets in the way of that worship.
Who do you serve?
Did you feel uneasy, awkward, or irritated about being told that your money, or your house, or your car isn’t yours?
Did you say quietly to yourself,
- ‘There’s no way I’m going to stop spending 16 dollars a day on cigarettes.’
- ‘No way I’m going to stop saving 300 dollars per month for my kids’ education.’
- ‘No way I’m going to let people invade my home.’
- ‘There’s no way I’m going to settle for a cheaper, less prestigious phone.’
The answers reveal who has your future and what has your heart. But the point of all this is not to stop us enjoying any of life’s good things. I am not advocating becoming a self-flagellating hermit. There are wholesome, beautiful things that God has given us the ability to create. Admiring a well-crafted piece of furniture or a unique piece of clothing, enjoying a piece of music, relishing tasty food, being impressed by the engineering and design behind a sleek car or motorbike — all of these things are part and parcel of living well under God’s good reign. But when we begin to worship the created thing rather than the Creator, and in our yearning to possess it become possessed by it, we are exchanging the truth about God for a lie.
By contrast, when we use our heads shrewdly, we will use the money and things God has given us to serve others. It is as we put our hope in God that we invest wisely. That is how we store up treasure which gives us access to true life, which begins and ends with knowing our Lord and Savior.”
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35 ESV)
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV)
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1 ESV)