Living as God’s Steward, are you doing that? How is it that all that I am and all that I have belongs to God? Two particular verses come to mind when I think of how God has taken both my husband and I from very humble financial circumstances to ones of more privilege yet with more danger to worldly wealth, while we are committed to giving to God’s Kingdom, church and missions as He leads us to do so.
- “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
- “…I am God, your God…For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” Psalm 50:7-11, (shortened for emphasis).
These verses reflect my life lessons and show me how we are like the nations, “a mere drop in the bucket”, as we have very temporary lives in the “now” of the eternal plan of God. Completely humbled by a seminary friend who asked me to partner with him in prayer and speech at the start up of a Nigerian, Keffi school and orphanage, www.rishama.org, I’ve been obedient to have a couple of fundraisers and ongoing advisement and visional prayer for Rishama, as an associate board member. This is one of two major projects at present where God has used my Deep Waters Ministry Fund to help provide financial resources as I am directed by His Spirit to do so.
You see, it is not that our lives belong to us, but they belong to God. Sometimes, I stand back in wonder and know that I had nothing to do, accept obedience and priority of my relationship with Christ Jesus, with where I stand today in His provisional giving for others through me. The believers role is that we were designed to manage what God owns; material resources, finances, possessions, our bodies and health, our spiritual and mental capacities, our life experiences (at age 55, more of these to give away now), and the time we have on earth (knowing He can take us home whenever He wants). Our perspective is eternal in this regard.
Do you ever feel like you are not doing enough OR that you could actually “do more”? I have found conviction in Malachi 3:7-10, “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statues and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?” Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say “How have we robbed you?” In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Wow! How convicting that there is a time where “there is no more need”! And that this shows me how we can “rob” God when we don’t put our total selves to the needed commitment in His kingdom storehouse. Are you willing to “not rob God”?
I am willing and I certainly do even over-extend myself at times, or give sacrificially and that often means doing things (like driving on a terrible polluted highway each week to counsel Cambodian refugee children who receive benefits from my Deep Waters Ministry) that are very difficult or that I at least wish were easier. Check out Logan Hope School and their needs at http://www.loganhope.org! I “rob” God when my heart-attitude or fleshly self comes in and says “do you really want to do this, you’re not even prepared today”! I’m grateful these times are minimal and I learn to be content in my callings and offerings to the Lord, as He is with me in it and keeps me healthy to do it! Yet, I am weak.
I was recently in Luke 16 and had a discussion about serving our One Master, Jesus Christ our Lord, and not “serving money” in our investments but seeing Him in how we invest as well as spend. I have a few stories that might seem odd but when I have let seminary students borrow my Pocono Mountain home for retreats and they always thank me, I say “Just remember when I’m on the streets and broke, you can give me a couch to sleep on”. This is seriously meant, as you never know what tomorrow may bring! So, like the Dishonest Manager, being shrewd in the Luke 16 parable, I hope I have several couches I could crash on if ever needed!
As a counselor, I have the resources of experience, training and tools. God has also given me many ways to be creative, even “on the spot” as the Spirit leads! I am a visual learner and teacher. I often “draw a picture” in my counseling time and use concentric circles which are very popular these days because they are effective. For example, Your Responsibility Circle with God in the center and then Self, then World, Church, Government, Family and Work tell us what is our responsibility and what is not, yet often they overlap like in a Venn diagram. God knows when and how He might use your resources if you, good steward, are prepared, geared up and ready to do so. Have faith and prepare to hear “well done good and faithful steward”. Amen