A Good Steward of God's Financial Resources
How time flies! We entered a new year. As most do, we reviewed and reflected on the past year and made plans to do better in the new year. Wouldn’t it be good that for this coming year of 2024, we set ourselves a goal to be a better steward of God’s resources He has blessed us with?
But what does being a good steward mean?
Jesus teaches us in “the parable of the talents” (Matthew 25-30) to use God’s given resources in the service of God and His Kingdom. The resources that God has blessed us with include personal abilities or talents and personal wealth. While many find it much easier to be a good steward of abilities and talents, somehow the ‘carnal man’ in us finds it a struggle when it comes to personal wealth and financial resources. The story that Jesus told in the parable of “the widow’s mite” (Mark 12:41-44) reinforces this point that many of us (me included) need to acknowledge with all honesty that the two copper coins that the poor widow gave as an offering represented a greater proportion of her wealth than the larger gifts of the other religious leaders (us included). Perhaps it is timely also to remind us at this juncture that God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthian 9:7).
So why then is it so difficult for us to be a good steward of God’s financial resources?
Having gone through my own personal struggle in this area and also teaching a class in School of Christian Growth on biblical financial stewardship, it has taught me that to be a good steward of God’s resources, requires the Christian to have a sound grasp of the difference between ownership and stewardship, between rights and responsibilities, and understanding what it means to be contented. Many of us get the idea of contentment wrong; having contentment is not about how much you have i.e. not a ‘money issue’ but a spiritual issue.
Ownership and Stewardship, Rights and Responsibilities
There is not a single iota of doubt that our God is the absolute owner of everything that exists because everything in heaven and earth is His (1 Chronicles 29:11), which makes us stewards or in simple terms, caretakers of every form of His resources! As stewards we do not have “rights”; this belongs only to God as owner. All we have are “responsibilities”. We sometimes fail as stewards because we have the habit to act as if we are owners or we fail to be good stewards in managing God’s command for us to love and serve wholeheartedly in managing His resources. In short, to be good stewards, we must hold a strong and embedded world view that proclaims unequivocally that God is the owner and we are the stewards of God’s resources. That must surely be the starting point in walking the path of a good steward.
Being content is also part of the DNA of a good steward. Simply put, contentment is the state of having no regrets when looking back, not envious but grateful in thankfulness in the present and always hopeful for the future. The apostle Paul puts it most aptly in Philippians:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” In a world where the hoarding of wealth is wrongly encouraged sometimes at all cost and where there is constant fear of not having enough, it is not surprising that our brethren are sometimes persuaded in holding back what is due to God! Good stewards hold steadfastly and sing, “He is my everything” in spite of circumstances and in Him I lack nothing!
Let us take stock of our responsibilities as stewards, let us learn to live victoriously with godly contentment, with a renewed understanding of stewardship this new year. We can all be better stewards of God’s manifold blessings in the year to come. Hallelujah!