Tag Archives: stewardship

March 12; A Small Share

Numbers 34-36

The Israelites were on the verge of receiving what God had promised Abraham centuries before. The Promised Land! Here in Numbers we are given the actual square footage this massive congregation would occupy. I was a bit surprised.

Matthew Henry, on page 175 of “Commentary in One Volume,” tells us it was 160 miles long, and about 50 miles wide, or 8,000 square miles. (The US state of New Hampshire is a little over 9,000 square miles). But that tiny piece of real estate in the Middle East was the part of the world where God “was known, and His name was great.” (Psalm 76:1)

God, who created everything there is, who has dominion over billions and trillions of square miles of real estate, could have given His people so much more land. Instead, He gave them 8,000 square miles. Does that say anything to me today in 2019?

I had to stop and think about something else Matthew Henry said:  “How small a share of the world God often gives to his own people.” (Commentary in One Volume; Zondervan; 1961; page 175) But so many of us put so much emphasis on that tiny bit of the world God gives us.

So many of us spend an inordinate amount of time pruning, expanding, enjoying our own material possessions, while that which lasts for eternity suffers from neglect. We have heard, and most of us agree, that this world is not our home. But do we live like it is?

Today God is asking me to check my priorities. I believe He wants me to be a good steward of the material blessings which are mine. But I need to put it in perspective. God could give me the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. But He hasn’t. What He has given me is the Truth, the Gospel, Himself, riches beyond the material. How much time to I spend pruning, expanding, and enjoying those?

The small share of this world which has been given me, is enough. I thank God for it. But if I lost it all today, I’d still have the most precious thing of all. I pray you can say the same.

 

October 28 – In Praise of a Dishonest Steward

Luke 16-17:10

The first part of chapter 16 is subtitled, “The Unrighteous Steward” in my NASB. At first glance it might appear that God is congratulating the dishonest man for his ingenuity, then telling us to be more like him. (8-9) Is God really saying it’s ok to cheat people if our intentions are good?

I read several commentaries this morning trying to get a handle on this parable, and the interpretations are widely varied. So I’ve sat here for a few minutes considering all the opinions, and asking God to show me what He wants me to know today. This is my take-away:

God has entrusted His people with the riches of His glory. He gave us His only Son, gave us access to the Throne Room, and has opened the doors of Paradise to us. He has given us Himself. The riches we hold cannot even be counted.

But we, like the dishonest steward, have squandered God’s riches. We continue to sin. We don’t always obey Him or share Him with unsaved friends and loved ones. We don’t always represent Him well in the workplace or at the ballgame. We take our salvation for granted, even though we know what it cost Jesus to give it to us.

I think God would have us consider the fact that, whenever we squander an opportunity to use the riches of His glory, we have lost that opportunity forever. We will never get yesterday back.

The steward in the parable didn’t continue to squander the master’s riches. In fact, he made opportunities to serve his master. The steward didn’t wait for the people to come to him. He sought them out.

And that’s my take-away. I stand here before you a dishonest steward. I have to admit that there have been way too many times I have not protected or used that which God has entrusted to me.

I stand before God and ask Him to forgive me, to show me opportunities to serve Him. I don’t want to sit in my recliner today when there are people I know and love who need to see Him in me. Maybe I need to have lunch with one of them this afternoon, or pick up the phone to reconnect with another.

I hold in my heart the riches of God’s glory. Am I going to waste it, or use it for His sake? I can beat myself up about lost opportunities, or I can forget what is behind and press on toward the goal of being a good steward of God’s riches.

I know that there is more to this parable than what I’ve shared today. There are more lessons to learn from these verses. But that dishonest steward has convicted me today. If he can get on the ball and work for his master, I have so many more reasons to get out there and work for mine.

 

June 11 – Dusting The Pews

I Kings 5-6, 2 Chronicles 2-3

Years ago my dad was on the building committee at our church. He was frustrated with some of the people over their choice of materials. Their attitude was that the cheaper materials were “good enough.” I remember Dad asking one man if he’d put that stuff in his own home. The answer, of course, was no.

Now, as an adult, I understand a bit more about stewardship. I believe that church was built with the budget in mind. And, as a matter of fact, it’s still standing fifty years later!

When Solomon built the Temple he wasn’t on a budget. Did you read about the materials he used? The cost of that building might rival our national debt today. Solomon’s attitude was, nothing is too good for God. Solomon knew it all belonged to God anyway.

If you’ve been with me very long on this blogging journey of mine, you know I look for spiritual truths in all of Scripture. But today, God brought to my remembrance the material building we called my home church.

Makes me wonder how we are caring for that brick and mortar structure we worship in these days. Of course, I know our hearts are the temple of God this side of the cross. Of course I know a building is just a building.

But that church building is symbol to people in your community. Do they see your fellowship being good stewards of the resources God has given you? Your care of your church property might be an indication of the level of commitment you have to God.

I’m not advocating ostentatious design or gold covered cherubim. In fact, I think those kinds of structures indicate an emphasis on the material. That’s a rabbit trail I won’t follow today.

But what is the condition of the roof on your church? Is the lawn mown regularly, weeds pulled, flowers planted? Are the windows clean? Are the pews in good repair? When a visitor pulls into the drive, do they drive over potholes or mud? When they walk through your doors, do they see cobwebs and dust, or do they feel welcomed by the decor?

Solomon put a lot of care into the building of the Temple. What would God say to us about the level of care we put into our own places of worship?

April 2 – Blessings That Lead To Sin

Judges 8&9

What do you do with the blessings that God gives you? Can you pay your bills? Are you healthy, have a family, someone you consider a good friend, a roof over your head and enough to eat?

More than that, are you walking with the Lord? Have you accepted His grace and do you enjoy His Presence, His love, His joy, and peace?

What do you do with it all?

Gideon received 1700 shekels of gold from the spoils taken from victories at a war. God had defeated Gideon’s enemies in a miraculous fashion. And what did Gideon do with the gold?

Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. (Judges 8:27)

Did Gideon use what God had given him for the glory of God? No. And it led to sin.

I don’t know most of you reading this blog. But I know for a fact you have been blessed by God. Oh, you might be struggling right now. But that doesn’t mean God is not blessing you every day, too.

I think God would have us take inventory today. Count your blessings. Name them one by one.

Then ask yourself if you are using what He’s given you for God’s glory. Or are you using those blessings in self-serving ways? Are you squandering the blessings God is pouring out on you by not recognizing them, or by abusing them in some way?

Beware, dear one. What you do with God’s blessings is between you and Him. Just know that if you aren’t careful, those very blessings could lead to sin.