The Expository Files

 

 Godís Stewards

1 Chronicles 29:9-17

 
"Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly." (1 Chronicles 29:9). David and the people were quite generous in contributing to the cause - building a house for God, which David's son, Solomon, would accomplish. Their generosity caused them great joy because they were glorifying God and it suggested deep devotion to Jehovah on the parts of very many faithful men and women. Notice David's prayer: "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You." (1 Chronicles 29:14; see vss. 10-17).

Where Is Your Treasure?
To become better stewards of our blessings from the Father involves wisely using and managing our material blessings. "Money cannot buy happiness" or can it? David and the people seemed to prove that it can, but happiness was found more in generosity than it was in the gathering of it!

Jesus said that where your treasure is, there will be your heart also! (Matthew 6:21). If our relationship with God is our treasure (that is, we consider it to be the most valuable asset we have), then that is where our hearts will be. If our money and possessions is our treasure, then that is where our hearts will be. Having possessions or money does not necessarily mean that one lacks devotion to God. We can read of faithful men and women in the Bible who were prosperous. The sin is often in the form of sinful attitudes toward money and possessions, not in merely having them.

The Real "Money Problems"
"Itís All Mine!" I am a "self-made" man. It is mine to do with as I please and I owe no one else anything. The rich man was condemned not because he had lots of riches, but rather because he had not been ďrich toward GodĒ (Luke 12:16-21). By the way, what does becoming "rich toward God" look like? This is sure: one who is rich toward God is a good steward of his money and possessions.

"I Love It!" I want my life to be a success and I measure success with dollar signs (Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:9-10). We must not make the mistake of loving the Master's possessions of which we are stewards more than the Master who has entrusted them to us.

"I Cannot be Content Without It!" Are you buying it? People with something to sell want to create within you a lack of contentment with your life without their product. Someone calculated that we see 3500 ads a day - (radio/billboards/TV/print). It is easy to fall into the trap of seeking contentment this way to the point of finding ourselves deep in debt and little or no peace of mind overwhelmed by bills for things we just knew would make us happy (Hebrews 13:5). It is helpful in our quest to become good stewards to remember how many of these things we brought into this world and how many we will take out when we leave (1 Timothy 6:6).

Good Stewards Are Righteous
Jesus went about "doing good" and said, "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). The rich do not need to become poor to be good stewards, but we all need to understand that there is a dangerous side to riches. If you desire riches, let it be a richness of good works in your life, and never fix your hope on money and possessions. There is something much better (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

We need to be generous with our gifts to God and to others for the right reasons. This is so concerning our giving on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2). It also includes helping those in need (Galatians 6:10). We give because we love as God loves (2 Corinthians 8:8-9) and for that reason we give cheerfully and without resentment (2 Corinthians 9:7).

There is an enrichment that comes from good stewardship of our material blessings that exceeds the physical rewards (2 Corinthians 9:6). Note what the Lord told the people through Malachi, promising them to 'open the floodgates' of the blessings of heaven if they would give as they were instructed in the Law (Malachi 3:10). This is not an economic incentive to give (give $10.00 and the Lord will give you back $100.00) but rather enrichment on a deeper, spiritual level. It is to be enriched in character and hope and joy and peace now, given an abundance of purpose and wonderful expectation, in this life and in the life to come (Matthew 25:21).

If our conduct, our desires, our lifestyles, our habits or our attitudes interfere with being good stewards, then we need to do something about it. A good steward will seek to meet all of his God-given obligations and responsibilities. Jesus said we must not allow ourselves to be overcome with worry about the material (Matthew 6:25) and that we are the servants of God, not of wealth (Matthew 6:24).

Good Stewards Are Practical
Incurring a great debt is one sure way to fill your mind with worry and anxiety and finding yourself without the joy and peace that would otherwise be available. It may also cause you to be distracted from attaining important spiritual goals. This is not good stewardship.

Excessive debt is unwise from a purely economic perspective. It can become worrisome. It can distract from spiritual growth and contentment. It can rob us of the ability to provide adequately for our families and meeting our other responsibilities. We can be stretched too thin to be able to give as we would like to. Excessive debt is certainly a distraction that ends up costing us more than the interest we pay. That is not good stewardship. In fact, excessive debt is something like slavery. We become slaves to our debts and debtors (Proverbs 22:7). "Easy credit" refers to the ease of getting into debt; not to the ease of paying off the debt.

There is much in the Bible that has to do with our material and money. God has not given us financial advice so we can be materially rich. That is not His purpose. But rather, a well ordered life in these areas will help remove potential distractions from our main goal to serve and glorify God. Maintaining a proper, godly, appreciative and wise attitude toward the accumulation and use of money and possessions will go a long way in reducing problems that could interfere with our spiritual growth and wellbeing.
 

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 19.7; July 2012

 

 

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