“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without murmuring. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the words of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and might forever and ever. Amen.”
One thing that we must remember is that all Christians represent Christ and are in Christ (Romans 6:11). We are His good stewards and this outward behavior of stewardship should be evident to all, Saved or unsaved. Let’s start with the definition of what it means to be a steward, a word not used so often anymore:
Steward, n. — A man intrusted with the management of the household or estate of another; especially, among the wealthy, one employed to manage the domestic affairs, superintend the servants, collect the rents or income, keep the accounts.
Stewardly, a. – Provident; attentive; economical. (Prov.Eng.)
Webster’s Universities Dictionary Unabridged, 1942
We are intrusted with the affairs, not of this world (2 Timothy 2:4), but the affairs where our heavenly citizenship is at (Philippians 3:20). We are servants of Jesus Christ.
“No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
Consider who spoke those words, Jesus Christ. Not too long ago mention was made that one of the problems that many Believers have is taking the Word of God at it’s actual face value. In other words, what it says is what it means, where we can clearly see that.
So this truth that it is not possible to serve God and money is just that…truth. This applies to you and me, as well as every person on the face of the earth. Consider that most assume in their minds that it is ‘more extreme’ then what they are doing or they will simply not fully agree and believe that they can indeed serve God and money. Rather we should simply believe God (Hebrews 6:18):
“Let it not be! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.”… Romans 3:4a
Now there are plenty of books and articles written about how to invest money, save for college, etc., of which these writings are not going to deal with. Let those who are wise in those things, those who have experience, only in accordance with the Bible, provide such advice. For that I would probably recommend the late Larry Burkett who wrote numerous books that you can still find used, published by the Moody Bible Institute and was on over a thousand radio stations, the Dave Ramsey of his time, whom also provides useful budgeting advice.
As stated before, this book is only looking at providing guidelines from the Bible, not adding one thing to them, nor taking away anything (Revelation 22:18-19), simply giving the information needed for a Christian to be able to make wise decisions (Revelation 2:24-25), especially as dark storm clouds are appearing on the horizon.
You could simply consider that looking at these biblical principles throughout these writings are helpful information to be good stewards of Christ in regards to all aspects of our lives, including our finances.
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss because of Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11
So how to actual place into practice being good stewards? Some questions and thoughts come to mind, things which used to be mentioned amongst churches years ago, but nowadays it seems no one pays much attention to such questions.
Is it alright to own a sports car as a Believer? Used, brand new, a project car, an inheritance, a payment made, a $60,000 vehicle or a $1.2 million dollar vehicle?
What if the person is rich and a 250k car is not much to them? What about Cadillac’s? What if one is a real estate agent and needs a car to ‘sell’ houses? Perhaps the great uncle left a mansion and a garage full of restored classic cars? Then what, sell and get rid of or keep them?
The same could be said about homes. How high of a price? Should it be the near the bottom in order to toss the money here or there (if there is extra) for service for the Lord? What if someone just lives in an expensive zip code? Should they move?
Marble counters, Italian tiles, solid wood floors, columns, pools, a library, where do you draw a line. A 2 or 3 car garage? Perhaps a second garage? Do you have an orchard or a horse barn, those are expensive to establish and maintain as well.
Do you eat the finest foods when you go shopping? Shrimp or Ramen noodles? Which is it? Is your ‘meat’ meal a hot dog from a gas station or a T-bone steak, fresh from a butcher shop? Do you eat fine cheeses or generic block cheese, or perhaps imitation? J What about possessions?
Do you really need that granite chess set with matching pieces? Do you desire a large library with rare volumes? Do your children have a cheap scooter or an electric bike? Where do they go to school (or college)?
Do you pay to send them to a private school or public? Do they attend an elite college or university or simply a community college locally? Questions, questions, questions, there are simply tons of questions, but what about answers to these things?
This herein is the absolute purpose of writing about being good stewards. This is not a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, just that decisions are made individually or as a family, from the heart, for the answers to these questions can often be gained by knowing the Word of God:
“Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalms 119:11
There is no answer that fits everyone. Some people simply can only afford the lower cost groceries, while others can afford the more grandeur things of this world. For one chapter will be dealing with being content in either situation, a subject that requires a separate writing.
Private schools cost money and a lot of people do not have the time, resources or desire to homeschool their children, of which in today’s world seems necessary. This can be a huge expense, without even considering attending a college or university which can add astronomical costs.
Some people are left houses, money, cars, possessions of all sorts, and perhaps they need them, want them or simply are going to keep those possessions in the family. There the Bible could be used to provide support (Proverbs 13:22).
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Do not become a cause of stumbling, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also strive to please everyone in everything, not seeking my own profit, but of the many, in order that they may be saved.” 1st Corinthians 10:31-33
If we are to eat and drink to the glory of God, then certainly ‘whatever you do’ would also include how we spend our resources that God gives us:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no change or shadow of turning.” Jacob (James) 1:17
“Behold that which I have seen: It is good and right for one to eat and to drink, and to see good in all his labor that he labors under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him; for it is his portion. Also every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat of it and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-19
Each of us must use the Word of God, the Bible and be assured in our own mind (Romans 14:5) regarding the answers to these questions that will come up in each of our lives, as Believers, knowing that all who are truly in Christ (Romans 8:9) will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
If we truly love the Lord (John 14:5) these things should come naturally and not be difficult at all. For when questions arise as to ‘what should I do’ or ‘what can I do’ or what exactly is being a good steward, these answers, when considered from the heart, weighed against the Word of God, should come as no challenge and we should be able to confidently make wise decisions with our finances, out of what the Lord has given to each and everyone of us.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1st Timothy 6:17-19