October 22, 2017

Steward What You Have

I just finished reading another book about stewardship. Some chapters were really great, and ended up with plenty of highlighted passages. Other chapters… well, I couldn’t really relate to them.

Because I don’t have the resources they were talking about stewarding.

I may have the same amount of time as the next person, but I certainly don’t have the same amount of physical health or energy. I don’t have the same amount of money. I don’t have any children. I don’t have a sphere of influence at work. I don’t have… well, you get the idea.

There’s a lot I don’t have, and I started getting discouraged. How can I steward what I don’t have?

But then the obvious hit me:

God doesn’t call us to do things with what we wish we had;
He calls us to steward what we do have. tweet this

My physical resources may be limited, but I can steward what I do have — by loving God and others with the energy I have, and choosing not to complain about the energy I don’t have.

My bank account may be small, but I can steward what money I do have — by allowing wisdom, self-control, and love for God’s kingdom to govern my spending and saving.

My home may be small and humble, but I can steward the space I do have — by choosing not to apologize for what I lack but instead willingly offering the space I have. My pantry may be small, but I can use what I have to lovingly cook for my family. My guest room may only have bunk beds, but it’s still a place for someone to sleep.

My talents may not be as showy or as powerful as the next person’s, but I can steward the abilities I do have — by diligently practicing to improve, and humbly offering them to God to use for His purposes.

Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25?

The rich business owner left on a journey, and distributed his wealth among three favored servants. Each man received a different amount — and therefore had a different level of responsibility or expectation, as far as how much he could do with that amount. One received five talents, one received two talents, and one received just one single talent.

When the business owner returned, he asked each servant to account for how they had stewarded their portions. The one who received five talents was able to make five more. The one who received two talents ended up making two more. They were both rewarded by the good pleasure and commendation of their master.

But the one who received one talent… did nothing with it, and made nothing from it. He didn’t want to make a mistake, invest it wrongly or spend it foolishly, so he did nothing at all. In fact, he did worse than nothing — he buried it in the ground.

Rather than praise, he received condemnation. Rather than being rewarded for his labor, he lost what little he did have.

Confession: sometimes I feel like that servant who only received one talent.

But the answer is not to just “bury it in the ground” and do nothing! The answer is not to ignore the small amount I do have.

The answer is to use it (wisely). Spend it in ways that help you obey God’s commands to work hard, love others, and care for your family. Invest it in eternal things, where it will at least gain interest.

Whatever you feel like you don’t have enough of — whether it’s money, time, energy, space, ability, physique, charisma — realize that you do have something, and choose to use it.

After all, God honored the widow who gave only two coins, because that’s all He had provided for her. He will surely honor you, if you choose to steward what you do have, instead of waiting until you have more.

Even if you only have one talent.

  • A single word of kindness can encourage someone to keep on living.
  • A single hour of your time can be an answer to prayer for a weary mother or lonely shut-in.
  • A single phone call can remind someone that they are not forgotten or alone.
  • A single dollar can be combined with other single dollars to support a family or missionary in need.
  • A single meal can fill a stomach with food, and overflow a heart with love.

What other “single talents” can we use to show love for God and others?
How can you steward what God has given YOU?

 

Image credit: RondellMelling

Comments

  1. Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says:

    Elizabeth, I love this (and I think it demonstrates your talents (plural used on purpose) beautifully. I struggle with this too. I used to have dreams of winning some big awards (one specifically that is given out by my Alma Mater every year) but as things have unfolded, that doesn’t seem to be in my future. On the one hand, it’s just an external award/validation, but it is something that reflects a lot of what is important to me: doing good for others, being a role model, sending a message. I appreciate your reminder to be aware of what God wants — that it may be different/better/of more intention — than what I want.

    • You make a valid distinction between finding external validation and simply being faithful to what God calls us to – the internal assurance. Sometimes we tip the scales too far toward the external, thinking we need more of it to continue making progress, but forget the importance of the other. Thanks for sharing that, Paula!