Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Good" Stewardship

As most of you know, we're taking the month of June to focus on the concept of stewardship. Christian stewardship begins with the idea that all things belong to God and that we have a responsibility to be good managers of the the things that he has entrusted to our care. When people talk about stewardship, usually they focus on money. But stewardship is bigger than just money; we ought to be good stewards of our time, our energy, our knowledge, our children, our spiritual gifts, our cars, our homes, our toothbrushes..., our attention--even the message of life in Christ. I don't think we ever stop growing in regard to stewardship. There's always some area of our lives where we could make better use of the things God has entrusted to us. But, I realized something new about stewardship this past week.
I want to take this opportunity to reiterate something that I said this past Sunday, because it has revolutionized my thinking about this issue. Any good discussion about stewardship has to include the parable that Jesus tells in Luke 19:12-27. Go ahead, read it.
... ... ... [you're reading, you're reading] ... ... ...
So did you read it? There are lots of important lessons to draw from this parable, but there's one that's beginning to change the way I think about the things God has entrusted to my care--especially the money and the stuff. What made the "good" servants pleasing to the harsh king was that they used what he had entrusted to them to do something good--they made the king more money. What offended the harsh king about the "wicked" servant was not that he was a poor accountant or that he wasn't thrifty--in fact, I'd be willing to bet that he was quite thrifty. One of the main problems with the "wicked" servant was that he didn't use what was entrusted to his care to do anything good. He didn't use it to do anything at all.
Growing up in the church, I've heard about the importance of financial stewardship from the time I was 8 years old. I specifically remember sitting in "Junior Worship," while the youth minister's wife helped us understand that 10 cents was a tithe of $1. And, I don't know if it was taught intentionally, or if it it's just the way middle-class Americans have been taught to think about money; but, for a very long time, I've held to the notion that Christian stewardship is essentially being a good accountant, being thrifty, and paying your tithes. However, it seems from this parable, and other verses ( 2 Corinthians 9:6, for instance) that God has something more in mind, he desires that we would use what he has given to accomplish something good. In fact, the more we use for good, the more he wants to entrust to our care! To hold on to our money, our time, our children, our gifts, etc. and to use them sparingly, is wicked!
So, I'm going to try to give as much as I can to those who need it--"my" time, "my" energy, "my" knowledge, "my" children, "my" spiritual gifts, "my" car, "my" home, "my" toothbrush..., "my" attention--even the message of life in Christ. And, I hope that I'll continue to grow in my ability to give more. It's all his anyway, and he has more for me to give.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughts. Me and my husband have been struggling greatly with our finances due to poor decisions and random misfortunes. It is easy to feel like I do not have anything to give. Although we tithe, I feel like I am missing something. Your insights have given me a better grasp on what I am feeling. Trusting God with our money, (haha "our" money) but also giving as much as we can of everything God is entrusting us with. Thanks ;-)

mindytrimble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mindytrimble said...

thanks Dan! That really was needed!! I am trying to get things in order and begin a more faithful approach in all areas of my life! I love you much and am thankful for you!!

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