Do I recognize that God owns everything I have? Is He the master of my time, talents and treasure? Do I want to please God above all else? These are three fundamental questions we must ask ourselves as we mature in our relationship with God and demonstrate our acknowledgement that“all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Col. 1:16) Indeed, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” with the resources God has placed at our disposal. (Eph. 2:10)
Before we proceed, let me ask this. Do you think most people are content with who they are and what they have? Ok, how about you? How content are you with how God has made you and what He has entrusted to you? Honestly, why is that? God has entrusted to His followers different gifts, skills, abilities and resources. His intention was that they work together within the framework of the body of His church. His expectation is that we will be both faithful and obedient to Him.
Even though every believer in Christ has received complete forgiveness and an eternal relationship with God, each of us will be held accountablefor how we managed his gifts, talents, abilities and resources. Matthew 25:14 illustrates this and we must take the lesson here very seriously. God has given us the role of stewards, and we can lump this responsibility into three major areas: time, talent and treasure (material resources). With respect to stewardship of time, our life on this planet is very brief in relation to eternity. Fortunately or not, as our years progress they seem to be passing away more rapidly. We can avoid waking up later in life to regret what we have missed through our stewardship by attending to it now. Lifetime is a mere breath!
We see listings for spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4 and Rom.12. Take a look at these. What are some of your unique gifts, strengths and skills and, regardless of your age, how are you employing them in God’s kingdom? We are told in Eph. 4:11-16 to employ our gifts and talents to build up the body of Christ. In Luke 19:12+ we are commanded to use our gifts wisely and that God adds to those who use them accordingly.
When it comes to stewardship of treasures, there are certain principles God reveals about the material goods He entrusts to us. Whether we consider ourselves to be wealthy or poor, understanding these principles will help us become more effective stewards. The principle of return in 2 Cor. 9:6 expresses that our “harvest” will be in proportion to what we “sow.” The principle of proportion found in Luke 21:1-4 (please read this)teaches us to put away our “yardsticks” and to not compare our giving against others. God does not look at the amount we give, as that is a poor standard to represent our generosity and obedience. The principle of cheerfulness is seen in 2 Cor. 9:7. God loves cheerful giving, not reluctant or guilt giving.
We all may struggle at times and wonder whether we will have whatever “enough” is to meet our needs. In Philippians 4 God commends the Philippian and Macedonian churches for their sacrificial giving. This takes us to the principle of giving by faith. It’s a tough one for some. Giving in this manner says “I’ll give out of what I have and I’ll trust that God will continue to provide for me.” Our natural tendency may be to think, “When I have more, I’ll give more.” Is that exercising faith or trusting in oneself? Only once in scripture does God instruct us to test Him, and this one time is with respect to Him being faithful to respond to our giving. In fact, if you care to read Malachi 3:6-12, God gets pretty heated about this and refers to His people’s lack of stewardship as “robbing God” and implies they are “under a curse.” Yikes!
I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions. What values and priorities does your use of time reflect? With the gifts and abilities God has given you, how could you use them to benefit His kingdom? Does your giving reflect trust in God’s ability to provide for you and is it proportional to what He puts at your disposal? Think About It.