God’s in charge, right? Then why do bad things happen? We can’t fix things ourselves! But God has given humankind “dominion” over the earth. (Genesis 1:28) We are to “work out [our] own salvation”. (Philippians 2:12) So does that mean you and I are in charge?
When you or I try to play god it just doesn’t work out very well. God’s job is already taken!
In many ways I’m a “try harder” kind of person. I’m relentless. I don’t give up. My life changed dramatically when I learned to give God permission to be in charge of my “continuing education,” my time, my money. Everything just started to work better. I haven’t put in any less effort, but I have so much less angst.
But I’ve come to understand yet another life-changing dimension, and that is the difference between ownership and stewardship.
And no, we’re not talking about money (although this applies to money).
In our 21st century culture we don’t talk about stewardship much, unless it’s in the context of giving money at church. That really has nothing to do with the original idea, or what the Bible has to say on the matter.
The idea is this:
God is the Owner. Of everything.
Nothing I have is my own. I am the steward, the one tending what He has put in my care.
That perspective is a dramatic shift. It applies to every aspect of my life – my physical body, the way I spend my time and money, how I invest my talents and skills, how I treat my family and friends.
And that very statement is backwards. It’s really not “my” anything. It all belongs to God anyway.
My physical body? Not really. “My” body is not my own, but the temple of the living God! Jesus purchased me – including my body – with His blood. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) I don’t get to do whatever I want with my body. I don’t get to eat and drink whatever I want, engage in sexual pleasure as I wish, or either indulge or overwork my body at will. My body is not really mine.
My time? Not really. The time I live within is created by God. I don’t get to “waste” or “spend” time as I wish. I don’t get to decide how fast things happen, or don’t happen. God has a purpose for the time during which I live on this earth, and the choice I get to make is whether I will go about accomplishing what I want, or seeking to fulfill His purpose for me.
My money? Not really. God owns everything – all the financial and other resources in the world. (Psalm 50:10) The money and other resources under my “control” are not mine; I’m only managing them for the Owner. Any resources are only under my control for the purpose of putting them to the use for which the Owner has given them to me.
My skills and abilities? Not really. The unique ways in which I am gifted are just that – gifts. I have nothing that I did not receive. (1 Corinthians 4:7) My King has put those skills and abilities under my care for a reason. The evaluation of what I do with them will not be based on how they benefit me, but on how I employ them in fulfilling the reason for which He gave them to me.
My influence? Not really. The “aroma” around me, the impact I have on other people, is not for my own benefit. Instead, it’s for the purpose of ministering His life to others. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) I don’t get the option to shrink from that kind of influence, or to want more of it for my own pleasure or pride.
What Stewardship Means
So my body, my time, my money, my skills and abilities, and my influence are not really mine. They belong to God Himself. But that means the way I deal with what is “mine” is dramatically more important.
Imagine being given the responsibility to manage the finances of a huge corporation, perhaps one which hold funds people have invested for their retirement. It’s not your money, but what you DO makes all the difference in the world. You have the “power” to destroy those funds or embezzle them, and in the process destroy your own future. Or you have the “power” to increase them so that people will experience a much better future because of you.
That’s the way it is with everything God has placed within your control. “Your” body, time, money, skills and abilities, influence, everything. Those things don’t belong to you; they belong to the King of the Universe! But what you DO with them makes all the difference.
- You care for your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, with more care than you would treat a physical building belonging to an earthly king.
- You invest your time knowing it’s not your own. It’s not “giving” a little time to God in the morning and the weekend; it’s living as though you belong to Him 24/7.
- You direct all the money God funnels through you in directions that honor Him – caring for your family and those in need, investing wisely, and building His kingdom.
- You employ your skills and abilities for the benefit of His kingdom. This may be in a job or in creating products and services, in your hobbies, and for a few, perhaps, in vocational ministry.
- You think about how your influence impacts others. Rather than caring what others think of you, you care about how they see God’s kingdom as a result of you.
Nothing you have is your own. How will you tend, care for, invest, use, grow what you have been given for the benefit of His kingdom?
May you and I be faithful stewards of what He has placed under our care.
Your Turn: How would it change your mindset to see everything you have as belonging to God, and simply entrusted to your care? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- It doesn’t belong to you. It all belongs to God anyway. Recognizing this changes how you deal with physical health, finances, skills and abilities, influence, everything. Tweet that.
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