The Significance of Stewardship
To be a faithful steward, as required in God's Word, we must faithfully commit to managing the trust God has given unto us. The trust for which you and I are responsible is a composite of all that we are and all that we possess. Since God himself has given it unto us, it is a sacred trust; therefore, it is necessary that we manage it in a way that honors Him and advances his kingdom.
Stewardship demands diligence, devotion, and determination. It is not optional, it is mandatory. Perhaps our greatest challenge to being faithful stewards unto God is the fact that we have become too accustomed to life's conveniences. Our conveniences have made it difficult to surrender to Christ wholeheartedly. These temptations severely affect our passion for our Lord and his kingdom.
Stewardship of Our Time
Time is a relative marker for our lives, but not so with God. God is not bound by time because He is eternal. As finite creatures, it is imperative that we make the most of our time while living on earth. It would be wise for us to pray as Moses prayed, "Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." (Psalm 90:12) We need the Lord to teach us to manage our time wisely so that He can receive full glory out of our lives as we accomplish his will. An indepth study of the life of Christ will shed much light on what it means and looks like to wisely use our time to honor God. During his earthly tabernacle, Jesus spent his time praying, teaching, preaching, helping, healing, and constantly interacting with people - in other words, He made use of every opportunity to minister in some way to others.
When it comes to managing our time wisely as stewards, the determining factor will be the measure of our spiritual influence upon others. Thus, we surmise as Paul said to the Corinthians, "Whatever you do, do [it] all to the glory of God." (I Cor. 10:31) The stewardship of time is a practical challenge, something that demands constant decisions about what to do. Truly loving God and people means spending our time in ways that communicates that love. When this is the case, we become faithful stewards of every day in a manner that truly has purpose and significance.
Stewardship of Our Talents
For the most part, all of us at times feel unqualified, inadequate, or uncapable when it comes to impacting the kingdom. The reality is that without Christ, we can do nothing; but through him, we can do all things. Thankfully, it is God which works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. In order for any of us to accomplish anything worthwhile for his glory, the Lord has to equip us spiritually. The Bible is clear that "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." (I Corinthians 12:7) Notice, it is not given for us to profit by, but to profit with, which means it is to benefit others (the kingdom). What we often fail to realize is that like Moses and other patriarchs, God will take us as we are and use us to his full glory. By his grace, the Lord empowers us to be used in his service in extraordinary ways.
As a loving Father, God gives spiritual gifts to every one of us. These gifts are Spirit-endowed abilities for Christian service. The purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify other Christians as well as to minister to the unsaved community. Once your gift is exercised, something supernatural happens. In an attempt to identify your spiritual gift, ask meaningful questions throughout the process: What do I seem equipped to do? What opportunity is at hand that I'm in a position to respond to? What are my deepest spiritual desires? How do I fit in with the other members of the church? What are the needs that I am most moved to meet? Do others recognize my gift(s) and appreciate my involvement? The answers to these questions can shed light and give a clearer understanding of your function within the Body of Christ.
There is an innate tendency to think that only those who have remarkable skills and brilliant minds are the truly useful in God's service, but nothing could be further from the truth. God loves us and wants to use us just as we are. He does not see in us what we are, but rather what we can be under his guidance. The challenge is to yield to God everything we are, to willingly offer ourselves in his service and for his purpose. Always know that God has spiritually gifted you and I to accomplish his will in the earth for his glory. As stewards, our response should simply be, "Here am I, Lord, use me!"
Stewardship of Our Treasures
As stewards, we are commissioned to manage all of our assets in a way that will bring glory to God and advance his kingdom. We live with the understanding that everything we have in our possession comes from the Lord. It still belongs to him; we're just stewards not the owners. Therefore, failure to use our assets to support the kingdom's agenda can prove fatal. Maintaining the right focus on the Source of our assets will ensure that we will always have the right perspective towards them. All of our earthly assets comes from a heavenly source. God is our faithful provider; and his plan is that we be his faithful stewards.
We are to manage the assets which God has entrusted to us wisely and purposefully. Everything that we have is a result of God's favor and blessings, not our personal achievements. He gives us the privilege of using them, enjoying them, and managing them for his glory. The ongoing needs of the church's ministry are met through our regular and consistent financial giving; however, there are times when extraordinary needs must be met, which extends beyond our normal giving. We are obligated to respond to those needs as well. As faithful stewards, we not only respond to these opportunities to give out of a sense of duty, but with a sense of delight as well, knowing that we are honoring the Lord and partnering in his name.
Although, all of us have different levels of assets to work with, it is still our responsibility to give generously, joyfully, and sacrificially. God's measurement is always in proportion to what we have been given: "To whom much is given, much is required." (Luke 12:48) As we give, we bless others just as God has blessed us. It is important that we guard ourselves against all kinds of greed and selfishness because a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Managing our assets is not about acquiring more things, but about ministering to people with the things we have. It's not about securing ourselves, but rather it's about releasing ourselves to fully honor God.
Where do you stand in your stewardship?
Will you become a faithful steward for Jesus Christ right now?
How to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I tend to neglect to manage my life as you desire. I repent of my selfishness and negligence. I now know better, that everything I am and possess belongs to you, and that I have been commanded to manage it for your glory. As a steward, I want my light to shine before men that they may see my good works (stewardship) and glorify you in heaven. I need you to give me the wisdom and motivation that I need to yield myself completely to you in this regard. Thank you for entrusting and empowering me to be your steward. And when my time of accountability comes, may I hear your voice declare unto me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." In Jesus' name. Amen.
God's Assurance: His Word