Currently, our family is looking for a new home. After almost two years of renting a property, we believe it is time to take the financial plunge and become home owners once again.
As exciting as this journey is for our family, there is nothing like a major financial decision to bring not only our financial health but also our lifestyle choices sharply into focus. Suddenly, the details of how much we earn and how we choose to spend it, is open to detailed interrogation by others.
But even before that, there is much to think about and consider on a personal level: What size home are we looking for to accommodate our needs as a family? Can we even afford such a property, in the context of the current economic climate and our other competing needs? And the list goes on.
While making a significant decision such as buying a home can easily become complicated and even overwhelming, it needn’t be. This is where the concept of stewardship comes in.
Often as believers, when we think of stewardship, particularly in the context of the church, the first thing we think of is money. I like the Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition of stewardship, which reads: “the conducting, supervising or managing of something especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”.
If we adopt the belief that God, the Creator of all things entrusts these things to the care of His people as stewards, then making decisions around how we give of our time, how we use our skills and abilities, how we take care of our environment, as well as how we spend our money all become stewardship decisions, which are interconnected and related. Ultimately, how we steward or manage any of our resources is a lifestyle decision that reflects not only our preferences but importantly, our values and priorities at a certain point in time.
Rather soberingly, Martin Luther famously said: “Show me where a man spends his time and money and I’ll show you his god”. Unfortunately, not all our lifestyle decisions are a true reflection of our values and what is important to us. Simply because we feel pressure … to do what is expected at a certain age, to be accepted by a certain group or to fit in, even to achieve a certain level of success.
But what is biblical stewardship and how do we live it out in a practical way? Michel Bell, founder of Managing God’s Money, an initiative which seeks to promote Word-based Christian financial planning and to present biblical stewardship principles and practices to individuals and groups, developed the GAS principle as a guide to the stewardship of God’s resources:
G – God owns everything
Since God owns everything, we are His appointed stewards of everything we have (Psalms 24: 1-2; Colossians 1:16)
A – Accept who you are and what you have
When we see ourselves as God sees us and we are content with what we have, it is easier to live within our means or circumstances (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:7-8)
S – Seek first His Kingdom and submit your requests to Him
This is an encouragement to not be anxious about anything (including our everyday needs) but to trust God in everything while bringing all our future plans even our hopes and dreams before Him (Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 19:21)
Let me end with one of my favourite quotes, widely attributed to Winston Churchill, which helps me put biblical stewardship in perspective: “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”
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