Spiritual Discipline 101 - Stewardship
Stewardship. Now there’s a word we don’t hear every day. I wonder what word pops into your brain when you hear the word stewardship? It sounds a bit antiquated and maybe a little fancy too, all at the same time. But it also makes me think of the words giving and guarding word. You see, stewardship is defined as, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” From a biblical perspective that would look like us managing all the stuff God has blessed us with in such a way that He is honored.
We recognize all we have comes from God. Psalm 24:1 tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” God graciously gives us gifts so that we can live life to the fullest and bring Him maximum glory. These gifts are ours to guard or steward while here on earth. How we manage the gifts God gives us and how we present them back to him is a reflection of our accountability for that which God has entrusted to us.
And what exactly has God entrusted to us?
Time. Talents. Treasure.
Time - How we allocate the moments of our life represents what we prioritize.
Talents - How we utilize our talents, gifts, skills, and abilities reflects our personal enjoyment.
Treasure - How we spend our money reveals our values.
Through these three gifts, we demonstrate our appreciation, thanksgiving, and gratitude back to God for all he has allowed us to have. The gifts of time, talents, and treasure are not limited to tangible, natural gifts, but also spiritual gifts. Have you ever heard the expression, “What you do with your gifts from God is your gift back to Him?” The longer I live, the more and more I realize I want to offer up a life back to God that has been well lived because I choose to waste nothing He gives to me.
What we must remember about time, talents, and treasure is that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). This is why practicing stewardship as a spiritual discipline is so important. And why is it important to give unto God with our time, talents, and treasure? Here are three reasons to consider:
1. Giving is an act of faith. When we give back to God through our time, talents, and treasure, it requires the currency of faith. We’ve already established that everything comes from God to begin with, so there’s nothing we can present to Him that originates outside of Him. Our faith is symbolic of our trust in God. When we commit ourselves to being good stewards, it will require us to exercise faith that we can touch God’s heart with our genuine giving of the very gifts He has first given to us.
2. Giving is an act of worship. Giving is as much an act of worship as is praying, or any other spiritual discipline we may practice. Giving is not secular or separate from God, rather it is one of the ways we ascribe worth to God. We don’t uses our time, talents, and treasure on everything else first and give God our left overs – no! We offer the best of ourselves to God through our time, talents, and treasure as a sacrifice of our worship unto God. As with every act of worship we bestow to our Father, it must be motivated by our love for Him. All of our worship must come from a heart with pure motives.
3. Giving is an act of obedience. Plain and simple, we are commanded in scripture to give to God. Of course this can play out in a variety of functions, but the bottom line is, we can’t say we are disciples of Christ if we are not willing to follow His Word by our obedience. Obedience, like worship is motivated by love. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
This month, I have especially been reminded of how important it is to steward well all of the things God had bestowed into my care. In all honesty, practicing biblical stewardship is not always easy or convenient, and will often require sacrifice. But it’s still worth it. Because getting to know God in the midst of disciplining ourselves though stewardship is so worth the time, talents, and treasure we expend in the process. What a privilege to serve God in this way and bring Him glory as we do.