Biblical stewardship needs proper goal setting. God’s goals. Biblical stewardship is about making lifestyle choices under God’s direction. Biblical stewardship accepts your role as God’s stewards of everything he allows you to use. Our Lord will lead you to His path when you choose to be His steward.
Biblical Stewardship Leads to God’s Goals
If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there, is a popular saying at which we chuckle. It is true. Daily, folks spend recklessly to buy items they don’t need and then complain their bills are drowning them. They travel without a map–goal, plan, or budget–and they get lost.
Before offering help to people, let’s must diagnose their condition. A doctor who prescribes a solution for a patient before examination soon might stop practicing medicine. Yet, that’s exactly what our society does when folks complain about their bills. We prescribe solutions without diagnosis.
People say being unable to pay bills is the issue facing North American families today. The general view is they need more income. Not necessarily? What are bills? Bills result from lifestyle decisions, smart or dumb, good or bad, prayerful or impulsive. Politicians, ‘occupy’ movement, students, liberals, and others, pick up on the inability to pay bills mantra. Then they create policy for more government presence in the economy. These policies have failed!
Before we have a bill, we have a decision. A bill flows out of a decision. Surely, some of these decisions are tough, gut wrenching. Still, we decided. We must identify real issues and try to tackle them. Bills aren’t the problem. Bills are symptoms. Think about this.
One pervasive issue is poor lifestyle choices. To be sure, slick, seductive marketing that appeal to our greed and selfishness, and cause us to spend. That’s why Jesus reminds us in Luke 12:15 to beware of all forms of greed because our lives do not consist of the amount of stuff we have.
We must reject the idea that someone unable to pay his or her bills chose wisely. We need to start asking probing questions about those bills. Today, folks live beyond their means. Their incomes do not support their lifestyles. They live pay-check-to-pay-check, which is the logical result of their choices. The solution is to adjust lifestyles, start choosing wisely, be patient, and stop being victims. It’s not more government programs or increased government role in the economy.
Then again, some people have real health issues and need help. Churches and Christian charities need to find a way to help these people. However, we shouldn’t treat these matters merely as financial. We must walk along with these folks and look at their whole lives a work with them showing God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Biblical stewardship means we teach folks to set realistic, attainable goals. It means we help people make good lifestyle choices about food, health, shelter, and exercise. Learning to make effective lifestyle choices start with a personal relationship with Jesus. More than saying a few words, and ‘accepting Jesus in your heart,’ this means turning over your lives to Jesus. Then, by his grace, he will give us his will as our desires.
Hebrews 13:5 will help to grow that relationship and provide solid guarantees on which to build needed debt-free lifestyle goals:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Please understand the issue is not money but the love of money. Money merely is a means of exchange, so we need to keep our lives free from the love of stuff.
What does it mean to be content? Accept who you are, what you have, and where you are. Accept your circumstances. Think about it. If you accept your situation, you are unlikely to be in turmoil, angry, and unable to listen for options God might present to you.
The most profound part of Hebrews 13:5 is God’s promise to be with his children always. This leads to the next stewardship Bible verse that helps goal-setting guided by Jesus. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can trust him to do what he says. We can rely on him to provide for us when we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). When he shows us his goal, we can believe him. However, we must understand that we do not see life as he sees it. Therefore, our experiences might differ from our expectations.
When working God’s goal as his steward, we must understand that God is a God of order and structure. We see this everywhere in the Bible. We see it in creation, building the ark, building the temple, setting up the theocracy when Israel left Egypt, and training and sending of his apostles. That’s why we should examine how we treat the resources he gives us.
Are you working with him to set goals? Plans? Spending plans? Do you agree that biblical stewardship needs effective goal setting under God’s guidance?
Mull over Luke 14:28. It is an excellent example of the effect of biblical stewardship. It shows clearly the need to work with God’s goals. Speaking about discipleship this Bible verse tells us to count the cost before building a tower. Surely, we should sit down, reflect, and budget resources available under Jesus’guidance. How else will we be able to know the right use of time, talents, and money that he presents to us?
For Christian financial advice, biblical stewardship advice, and advice on personal effectiveness improvement, and other leadership matters, visit: Managing God’s Money.
Copyright © 2012, Michel A. Bell