Jesus is Lord! That was the first century creed often passed in secret because of the intense consequences it held for those who professed it openly. The statement has become a statement of belief and an affirmation for Jesus' position in our daily lives. If Jesus is Lord of your life, he has the position of authority. You live under his authority. The biblical word used to describe the dynamic way to live with the Lordship of Jesus Christ is 'stewardship.'
Stewardship can be defined as one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns such as the supervision of servants, the collection of rents and the keeping of accounts. The steward is not the master but the master entrusts the management of the wealth and resources to the steward. If you think about it, stewardship applies to everything you are, have and will become. Stewardship applies to your material possessions, time, spiritual gifts, body and the way you live your life. If Jesus is really Lord of your life, he is the master and you are entrusted to be his manager.
It's totally natural to think of your possessions as your own. After all, you worked for them or inherited them from someone else, right? But, we've just established that Jesus is Lord. The bible contrasts our natural beliefs with supernatural truths. God is the owner of everything. You and I are managers of a little or a lot. God appointed humanity to manage the earth and its resources immediately after creation. I like the way Eugene Peterson writes the story from The Message because he makes it crystal clear that on day six God said, "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the earth! Take charge! Be responsible for the fish of the sea and birds of the air, for every living thing that moves on the earth. Then God said, "I've given you...." God is the owner of all he created. He put you in charge of a portion of it.
Effective stewardship must be learned. We don't automatically know how to effectively manage God's resources. Scripture, mature Christ followers and the Christian community can help us learn the essentials so we can become faithful stewards. So, are you wondering how you can become entrusted with more of God's resources?
- The principle of faithful tithing. God says return 10% to the house of God for use in worship and service. The tithe is holy and belongs to the Lord.
- The principle of sound management. God owns the other 90% of everything we have. It is our responsibility to manage it wisely.
- The principle of generous giving. Generosity affirms the blessing and freedom of giving. Prosperity can be an affirmation from God as you are trusted with greater responsibility.
- The principle of effective management. Accountability, transparency, communication and gratitude shape our God-honoring management capacity, capabilities and skills.
We live in a selfish materialistic world. The Church can be influenced by its powerful messages and tempted to follow worldly management styles. God is the owner of the resources. He's far more capable to educate us as to how he wants his resources managed. Relax for a minute and think about how you manage the resources God has entrusted to you. Your holdings may be small or vast. Think and pray about how you can become a more effective manager of God's ultimate resources because the exciting truth is the more we can be trusted the more visible the Kingdom of God will become.
“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!” Matthew 25:21 CEV