In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Romans 14:7
Memorise This Verse: Psalm 24:1 ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’
Afterwards Talk About This: Does the money in your pocket belong to you or God?
Something To Do Before Next Time: Pray over your wallet, cheque book and credit cards, that you might steward them for God’s glory.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the implications of being a steward of God’s money.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: 1 Chronicles 29:14
Having seen in the previous sections God’s determination to bless us and the warnings and purposes that come along with this abundance this section will look at the responsibility that we have in co-operating with him in releasing his blessing. It must be forever fixed in our minds that if we are not experiencing God’s blessing in our lives then the blockage is due to us, not God. God’s blessings have always been flowing into our lives and his grace and goodness has, is and will always be flowing towards us but we have the ability to block his best for our lives.
This particular section will look at the area of stewardship and how God is calling us to be stewards in his Kingdom. Stewardship is when someone entrusts something to someone else to be taken care of whilst still retaining the ownership of the item given. For example suppose you go on a short term missionary trip for 6 months and ask someone to house sit for you then that person will become a steward of your house. In the area of finances, stewardship has the 2 following principles:
- Everything in the world ultimately belongs to God (including all the money)
- The money we have is therefore Gods and we are using it on his behalf and for his benefit.
That God ultimately owns everything is a fact well established in the scriptures for example, the Psalmist says:
Psalm 24:1 ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’
Psalm 89:11 ‘The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth you founded the world and all that is in it’
Leviticus 25:23 ‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants’
Not only does the earth belong to God but the scriptures declare that every human being belongs to God those who have become Christians belong to God in a much more unique sense are to live their lives for God and not to please themselves. Consequently, such characteristics as selfishness and independence must surely grieve God who shed his blood and rescued from darkness that we might live for him. Before God created the world, and before every human being was in their mother’s womb, God had formulated a master plan for their lives that they might walk in and find the highest level of joy possible by entering into this plan. Surely every Christian must lay down their ambitions, plans, selfishness and independence in order that they might embrace the claims and plans that God has on their life.
Jeremiah 10:23 ‘I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own it is not for man to direct his steps’
Romans 14:7 ‘For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord’
1 Cor. 6:19 ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?. You are not your own you were bought at a price’
Implicit in the fact that the whole world and every person in it belongs to God is that all the money and all the gold and all the precious stone and all the possessions in it belong to him. This means that the people of God must surrender all claims they have to use their money as they please because what they refer to as ‘My hard earned money’ isn’t their money but is actually God’s. Since the money in our possession is God’s we must be very careful that we are using God’s money in the way that he wants us to. This way of viewing our money as actually being Gods is something that few Christians realise to be true their spending habits and their failure to seek God in how to use his money shows that they have yet to relinquish any claims they have on the money in their possession.
David is a brilliant example of someone who understood that everything in our lives belongs to God are we are to use it wisely on his behalf. When giving to the building of the temple he declares in 1 Chronicles 29:14 ‘ Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you’
A further example of the fact that our money is actually God’s money is found in Acts 4:32 which describes a model of how believers should handle possessions and finances. Here, the scriptures declare of the early church that ‘No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had’. The believers had given up all claims and rights to the money and possessions that they had and were consequently willing to share them as they were led of God.
So we can see biblically that all the earth, all the people in it, all the possessions in it and all the money in it belong to God. God has graciously committed his money to us and is expecting us to be wise and diligent in our handling of his money and to co-operate with him in using money to further his purposes on the earth. Consequently, just as the early church held no claims of ownership on their money or possessions, neither should we since ultimately they belong to God. God is therefore using his money to develop maturity, stewardship and a Christ like character into his children and is calling us to wisely handle his money.
So, can you say with all your heart that you view your possessions and money as not actually belonging to you but to God? If you can then you will realise what a large responsibility it is to look after God’s money for him and to be a faithful steward. It could be argued that God is more interested in having children who are stewards that having spoiled brats and that the money he wants to put into our lives is designed to develop character more that to keep us in the lap of luxury. Money comes partly as a test from God and how we handle it shows a tremendous amount about our relationship with God – it truly separates the spiritual men from the boys.
The final point regarding stewardship is that we must give account to God for the way we have handled his money – this is spoken about in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. Firstly it says in verse 2, ‘Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful’ God has bestowed upon us his money as means to develop stewardship and sonship in his children and hence we must carefully and diligently handle God’s money for him. Since God has invested his money in us he is looking for a return on his investment and it is an awesome responsibility that all have to steward God’s money for him. We aren’t handling our money the way we think is best but our mind set should be that with great reverence we are handling God’s money in God’s way.
Secondly it says in verse 5, ‘Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.’ As a result of our diligent stewardship we will actually receive praise from God it’s one thing for a teacher, a parent, a spouse or a Pastor to praise you but can you imagine the scene on judgement day when God sings the praises of those who have been good stewards of God’s gifts, anointings and money. Sadly, for those who haven’t been diligent stewards of God’s money, they will not have God sing their praises and it matters not if they have been Pastors, Elders, Deacons or Priests if they haven’t been good stewards they will have a day of reckoning to face.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Botswana
1,622,220 people, large minority of traditional ethnic religions
Stalked by AIDS and nominalism.
The Church needs to teach on commitment to Jesus.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.