Thank You God for wooing me. I don’t know words to describe how enjoyable it is to feel Your pursuit. I am humbled and brought to tears each time. When I am slow to understand, You give me patience. When I make mistakes, You give me grace and mercy. When I stray from Your commandments, You give me correction. You are more than I could ever ask for, hope or dream.
So God has really been working on me lately about stewardship. Not just of my finances, although that’s the easiest place for me to learn and understand. I have really felt over the last few weeks He has been working on me… asking me if I am All In and I have really started looking at what does that mean; in each area of my life. I watched a sermon by Mark Driscoll yesterday afternoon on stewardship because of this same learning curiosity. Do I really understand stewardship? Am I really All In with this area of my life? It turns out the topic of stewardship really applies to all areas of my life, decisions and actions. There are very few parts of my life not affected by this topic.
In order to wrap my head around what he was saying, I had to start by imagining that I still lived at home, but in a family from hundreds if not thousands of years ago: In a time where I did the same thing my father did; the family business so to speak. I grew up learning and doing work under him and now as an adult I work alongside him. As my father ages, perhaps I will even inherit what he has. I live within the families borders and as I build my own family, we become our own separate entity, but still part of the whole. Maybe we build another house on the property or add onto the family house. Either way, the idea would be that I live alongside my family. Everything I need to sustain me comes from the family. Everything I do, contributes to the family.
(Last year I met an awesome christian guy named Zion that lives in a commune in New Zeeland that lives sort of like this.. but that is a story for a different day)
If this was my world, everything I would do would reflect upon my family’s name. Essentially, I would be a steward of my father and his name. As I worked, it would bring reward and honor to the family. As I made mistakes, it could impact the family negatively. Either way, I am part of the family. It would have taught me a lot to have grown up in this type of environment. To some degree, I did. In many ways, the opposite.
Now to look back at money, which is where my processing started, I began to think of this world a little further. I suppose that I’d have a company card that would give me access to our families finances. In order to buy something, I’d better stop to consider what my family (especially my father) would think of that purchase. Or better yet, ask my father if this was in alignment with his thoughts/intention/direction for our families needs. It’s kind of like turning in receipts for reimbursement at my job. Someone reviews them to see if they are reasonable and authorized and if everything is good, I get reimbursed… except this is a step further because I would already have access to charge to the family account.
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.Haggai 2:8
If everything in my life is truly His. If all that I have and all that I ever am is His… that would mean that 100% of the money sitting in my checking account (and everywhere else) is His. He only asks me to give Him back 10%… but all of it was His. This sounds a whole lot more like the example above I was dreaming up. Like I have access to charge something directly to God’s bank account. In doing so, shouldn’t I be thinking (or better yet asking) what He’d like me to do with these purchases? What if my credit or debit cards had the family name right above my own?
Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Each time I went to swipe that card, I’d think about it differently… Wouldn’t I? If everything that I spent went through an approval process and was questioned and asked for justification. Or if before swiping my card, I had to stop and ask my Father if it was alright to do? This mindset turned the tables over in my mind. Thinking about my 90% still being His and that I am only a steward of what He has given me. I’m not even sure that I’ve fully processed it yet. I am definitely excited by my understanding starting to come together.
Now let’s take this family commune example and bring what He is teaching me full-circle. What if I applied this very mentality to my decisions and actions. What if I looked at how I spend my time (also a gift from God that I am responsible to steward well) and put it under the same microscope? Is the current thing that I am doing in my Heavenly Father’s best interests? Am I bringing honor to His name in what I am doing? Have my actions showed others that I wear His name? That I come from and live in this Heritage? Not that I am perfect or that 100% of what I do needs to be backbreaking… just that I am His steward. This verse is part of something I have been working to memorize over the past few weeks. It has stuck out to me and started to make me think differently.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.Isaiah 64:6
So our body, our time, our finances… all His. Not even our most righteous of deeds are ever possible of repaying Him for all that He has given us. From our very breath and every time our heart beats. All of it was to Him (on a side note, this is right in alignment with the premise of CS Lewis’ Sixpence none the richer). So am I being a good steward with everything I have and everything I am doing? Am I taking the time to ask myself, is this what my Father would want me to be doing? Better yet, am I taking the time to stop and ask the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me (easier than a cellphone call) if this is something I should be doing? This is what I want for my life. I want to be a good steward with all that I have left in my life. I want to ask this question about everything I do; in spending my time, my energy and my finances. I want to ask this question about how and where I am going… and the people I will see along the way.
Holy Spirit, would You help me hear your voice better? I need to be able to hear Your voice better in my life. Help me train my mind to think like this. Help me root our my fleshly desires and nature to replace with Your desires and nature. I want to bring glory and honor and prosperity to the family name… to Your name… and not to my own. I want everything that You have for me and I know that I need You more in my life. Come and meet me. Let me walk with You and train me in Your ways.
It is so awesome that I get to serve a God that adopts me into a family that I could never deserve. Even after being the prodigal son multiple times, He accepts me back and gives me back the Family name. I love that I get to serve with this kind of heart. I love that I get to be a steward. Everything that I do reflects on the Family name… no pressure.