Lesson 11: Stewardship
“Everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” – Matt 25:29
The year I turned eighteen was the year I decided I was done doing things I didn’t want to do. You know how it is. You spend those first score of years following other people’s rules. Eating the food your parents put in front of you; wearing the clothes they let you buy with their money; going only where their cars were willing to carry you. And it wasn’t just parents who had these strings on your life. All through high school you were stuck studying subjects you didn’t want to because the school said you had to.
But at eighteen I said no more. I was an adult (technically), and I decided I was done doing things other people wanted. My time was now my own, my driver’s license and the car that would come a few years later were also my own, and the money I managed to make during those years may not have been much – but it was mine. If I wanted to spend it on junk food or pants with holes in strategic places, that was my right. Right?
This week’s lesson on stewardship doesn’t dispute any of these ideas. It is agreed that all we have – time, talents, bodies, money and material things – all are our own. We can do whatever we want with them. But if we are to be good stewards, our management of these resources should be influenced by God.
Great. Now I’m back to doing things that I don’t necessarily want to do – like spending less on shoes and going back to AY when I could be sleeping the afternoon away.
It looks challenging until I consider that (a)Everything I have (including the money I was going to spend on those purple pumps) came from God and (b) the way I use these resources reflect my gratefulness for what he has given to me.
Suddenly It doesn’t seem as hard (okay it still is a little hard – I really liked those shoes). But nothing we are asked to give to God can compare with the love he has shown to us, the blessings he gives us. When you start comparing a few extra hours of sleep on a sabbath afternoon to a few hours hanging on a cross, you feel kind of silly. And when you think of that last accident you almost had that God kept you from, you know that there is nothing too much to give in return.
And that’s what stewardship is really about – giving everything we have back to God. Hillsong United says it best in their song, The Stand:
So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You
So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all