Asking the One Question that Changes Everything: The Concept of a Steward
Hi, I’m Jay Link, President of Stewardship Ministries and this is my daughter, Kara. Over the next few weeks, we want to take you on a journey to explore the one question that has the power to change everything in your life – depending on how you choose to answer it. Let’s get started!
You know, I am a very impatient person by nature. I like it when someone “cuts to the chase” giving me the bottom line without including all the details. I am often guilty of even helping people finish their sentences. I assume some of you might be like that too. So, let me take what is a massive topic and boil it down to one simple, yet incredibly profound and life-changing question. The question may be simple to ask, yet it is anything but simple to answer.
But before I give you the question, allow me to set a foundation for this question by introducing you to a word that you might not be all that familiar with. It is the word “Stewardship.”
So, what exactly does the word stewardship mean? Kara, why don’t you explain to us what stewardship is.
Let’s think of stewardship as if it were a three legged barstool and all three legs were essential for the stool to properly stand.
The first “leg” of this stool is the fact that God owns everything because He created everything. For example, King David tells us in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” I think that about covers everything that you and I will ever get our hands on.
The second “leg” of this stool is the fact that not only did God create us, but He also redeemed us from slavery through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Titus 2:13-14, “Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” You see, we now belong to Him again. So, God actually owns us twice: Once because He made us and twice because He bought us back.
The final “leg,” the one that enables the stool to stand, is the fact that we own nothing: We have been called by God to be stewards, to carry out His wishes for His property.
So, the word Stewardship actually means “to plan, to manage, to administer” or to be “a manager.”
Let me give you an example of how this works. Let’s say, there was a man who owned a clothing store. He decided to hire you to manage his store. The owner tells you, “I want you to open the store at ten in the morning and close the store at six in the evening.” He continues on, “On Monday, I want you to put the men’s ties on sale. On Tuesday, I want you to put the socks on sale…” The owner continues to list for you exactly what items he wanted on sale every day that week. Well, what if, when Monday morning rolled around, you decide to open the store at eleven, instead of ten. You also decide that it would be much better to put the jeans on sale that day – much better than men’s ties. And as the afternoon rolled around, you are feeling a bit tired, so you decide to close the store at four instead of six. Let me ask you, how long do you think you are going to stay the manager of this store? I think we would all agree - not very long at all.
Properly accepting this owner/manager relationship prepares us to ask the one question that changes everything. Unfortunately, it is not a question we can ask, answer and then move on. On the contrary, it is a question we must ask routinely, daily, possibly even hourly. Have I adequately captured your interest as to what this profound and life-changing question is?
Here it is – simple to ask, guys, but very difficult to answer. “God, what do you want me to do with all that you have entrusted to me?” We all seem to be more than willing to verbally acknowledge that God owns everything, but we still want to continue making all the decisions, as if we were the owners instead of Him.
You see, it is no longer “How do I want to spend my time?” It is now, “God, how do you want me to spend Your time?”
It is no longer, “How do I want to spend my money?” It is now, “God, how do you want me to spend Your money?”
It is no longer, “How much of my money do I want to give to the Lord?” It is now, “God, how much of Your money should I be keeping for myself?”
It is no longer, “How do I want to care for my body?” It is now, “God, how do You want me to care for Your body?”
It is no longer, “What kind of car do I want?” It is now, “God, what kind of car do You want me to have?”
Do you see how this owner/manager issue impacts every single area of our lives?
At first glance, this idea can seem very restrictive, but Kara, why don’t you give us a broader perspective on this “you mean I’m not in charge” issue.
Let me ask you a question. As believers, who is it that we are called to imitate? Jesus, right? When Jesus was on earth, he completely yielded His will to the will of His Father. He repeatedly reminded His followers of who was in charge of His life. In John 12:49 Jesus explains, “For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” In John 8:28 He adds all his actions to this, “…I do nothing on my own initiative.” In other words, everything that Jesus said and everything that Jesus did was directed by His Father.
There is an unavoidable question that inevitably emerges from all this. If Jesus willingly yielded all of His words, His actions and even His very life to the will of the Father, dare we be so rebellious as to make our own decisions about our lives and possessions without first consulting with our Heavenly Father?
Can you imagine what would happen to this world if all of us were to make all our time fully available for God’s use?
Can you imagine what would happen if we all devoted all of our talents and money to carry out God’s purposes?
What would happen if all of our energy was clearly focused on knowing and following God’s will for our lives and being the most obedient and effective managers possible of what He has entrusted to us?
Can you imagine how our personal lives would change if each morning as we rose from our beds, we genuinely and humbly prayed, “Okay, Lord, all that I am and all that I have are at your disposal today. What are your plans for me today? Not my will, but Thy will be done today.”
I can think of no better way for us to someday hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” from our Father than for us to be continually asking Him this one question, “God, what do You want me to do with what You have entrusted to me?” And as He reveals His plans for us and for the stuff He has or will put under our care, we need to obediently carry out those plans as faithfully and as well as we can. We need to be good and faithful servants regardless of how much or how little we have been entrusted with.
I hope you can now see why this one “simple” question, “God, what do You want me to do with what You have entrusted to me,” really does change everything. As we begin our journey in this series, my prayer is that you will contemplate this question often and carry it with you through the next few weeks. Allow yourselves to be continually asking, “God, what do You want me to do with all You have entrusted to me?”
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