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See Yourself as God's Steward (or Assistant)
Take Good Care of God's Possessions and Money
(c) 2006 by Doug Britton, LMFT (Permission granted to print for personal use)
Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10)
Introduction to being a stewardThis online Bible study is the second in a series of studies on money, finances, and possessions. More detailed information on these topics can be found in the book Putting Money in its Place. (This book, although written for married couples, has much information that also helps singles handle their finances.)
In the first study in this series, Acknowledge that God Owns Everything, we learned that it is God who owns "our" possessions. Once we grasp this fact, we look at our possessions and finances very differently.
Realize that you are a stewardYou are a steward, or manager, to whom God has entrusted a portion of his riches. You have the privilegeand responsibilityof taking care of his property and spending his money in ways that please him.
Recognizing that you are a steward can change your outlook in many ways. Instead of asking, "What do I want to buy?" ask, "Lord, how do you want me to use your resources?"
Does the knowledge that you are a steward and don't actually own anything make you feel sad or insignificant? It shouldn't. God created you and loves you so much that he entrusted some of his riches to your care. Looking at your finances this way can be an exciting journey.
God provides for your enjoyment. The fact that you are a steward doesn't mean that it's wrong to enjoy yourself. Our main goal in life should be to love God and others, not to satisfy our own desires. Yet God loves us and as a father gives us gifts to enjoy.Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17)
You will give an account to the LordIn Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus taught the parable of the talents. In this story, a man gave each of his three servants varying amounts of money to take care of while he was on a trip.
When he returned, two of the servants reported that they used the money wisely and earned more money. The master rewarded them for their faithful service.
The third servant, however, said he buried his money. He did not make a profit or earn any interest. He was severely punished.Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)Jesus taught this parable about money to illustrate a spiritual truth, not to give a lesson in financial management. Yet by using this illustration, he also let us know we are to use his possessions in a trustworthy way. We will give an account to God about our stewardship.So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone elses property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:11-12)
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Work diligentlySeveral years ago, I came across a man who was tired of working for a living. He quit his job and said he was trusting God to provide for all his needs.
How did he do that? He parked his van in the church parking lot and waited for God to send people his way with groceries! He thought trusting God meant to simply exist and wait for the Lord to provideusing other people.
He had the wrong idea about work. Work is part of God's purpose for us. God called Adam, the first human, to be a gardener (Genesis 2:15). The Bible tells us to work hard.All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)Work is a blessing. It enables us to provide for ourselves, our relatives and serve God. When we work diligently, we are good stewards. We also are a positive example of Christianity to those around us.
When we are lazy, we are a bad example and hurt the cause of Christ.Work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)Whether you work for someone else, own a business or are a homemaker, throw yourself into your work and do the best you can. Learn how to do your job better. Take advantage of training opportunities. Seek wisdom. God will help you prosper (Proverbs 3:16 and 8:18).Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. (Proverbs 10:4)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)
If a man will not work, he shall not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
Be trustworthyThe most important "ethical" guideline for many people is, "If you don't get caught, it's okay." The second is, "If you get caught, deny it."
God looks at things differently. He wants us to be people of integrity. Even if no one else catches us being dishonest, the Lord knows what we do.The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
Personal ApplicationDo you usually think of yourself as a steward (or manager) of God's money? Yes ___ No ___
Make a list of five of "your" resources such as a car or savings account. Then read over the list and ask, "Lord, how do you want me to use these resources?" Write any ideas that come to you about different ways you could use them:
Write a prayer acknowledging that all you own is God's and committing yourself to be a wise steward:
What else should a steward do?An upcoming online Bible study will cover more aspects of good stewardship. Click here to get free newsletters that announce new Bible studies, books, and seminars.
To dig deeper into how to apply the Bible's truths about finances, check out the book Putting Money in its Place. It covers financial principles and planning in detail, including tithing, borrowing, budgeting, investing, spending wisely, and many other practical topics. It includes a chapter for married couples on how to make financial decisions as a team. (Note: This book is part of an eight-book series on marriage, but its practical truths also apply to single men and women.)
Online Bible study: "Acknowledge that God Owns Everything"
Book: "Putting Money in its Place"
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Unless otherwise indicated, Bible verses are from the New International Version (1984 edition).