The following is taken directly out of my transcript from Sunday’s message from the book of James.
As followers of Jesus, we become stewards of God’s wealth whether it is a great amount of wealth or small amount. Either way, we have a responsibility to make decisions as to what is the most faithful thing we can do with the resources that God has entrusted to us. Simply put, regardless of what we have, or how much has been given to us, we must be faithful to use it for the good of others and the Glory of God.
The deep question we each have to ask ourselves when it comes to what we have is who is the true owner, God or me? There is an incredible difference between enjoying the gifts that God has given us and living extravagantly. A couple of months ago, I was at a football game next to a professional sports photographer who I have come to know. At one point during the game, he needed to change his camera lens and go to the upper deck to take a panoramic photo. He handed me his regular lens which was about a foot long, 5 inches in diameter and worth more than I could pay to replace it. You can be certain that I held it with both hands and did not lose sight for a minute. I had been entrusted with something of value that did not belong to me.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1
Even the things that we think we control belong to God. This extends beyond our stuff, even to people. I forget that even my children belong to God and have been given to me to steward well into adulthood. Oh yeah… and all of my relationships including the ones I have yet to build. All people belong to God, and it would be wise for me to treat God’s possessions with the respect and dignity they deserve. All of this reflects the fact that stewardship goes far beyond finances and wealth. Regardless of what we have, God says, “hang on to this, I’ll be back for it.” We can never lose sight for a minute that what we have been entrusted with does not belong to us.
If you have a giving problem, it’s probably because you have an ownership problem. Here are a couple of questions for you to answer that may help you better determine how you actually feel about giving/stewardship/generosity.
What does the term stewardship mean to you?
Where do you draw the line between enjoying what God has given you and living a life of indulgence?
Do you trust more in God’s provision for your future or your material possessions?
I would love to hear how you are wrestling with the ownership battle in your own life. I tend to feel that since I give obediently to my church that the rest of the stuff is mine to do what I want with, including over-indulge. How has the stewardship question challenged how you view “your stuff?”