Effective stewardship at Chanukah and Christmas (the holidays) occurs when we do not allow the “season” to cause us to use time, talent, money, and resources wastefully. Active stewardship during this period results when we stop focussing on doing things for us, and we direct our attention to being reflective and alert to Messiah Jesus.
Effective Stewardship at Chanukah and Christmas Starts by Submitting to God’s Ownership of Everything
During these holidays, parties, lunches, and shopping, pull us in several directions. We lose focus, step on the holiday treadmill, and keep going. After Chanukah and Christmas, we reflect with regret that we overate, spent too much, and did not sleep enough hours. Nevertheless, next year we repeat the cycle; it never ends! This nonstop doing, rushing, and being in a stressful state is the epitome of mediocre stewardship, particularly at this time when we should be meditating and celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple and the birth of Messiah Jesus.
According to the CPA Canada holiday sending survey, Canadians plan to spend CAD 723 on average during this holiday season, down 18 percent from CAD 884 last year. While Americans are planning to spend USD 967, up 3.4 percent from the USD 936 in 2016. Fifty-six percent of Canadian respondents said they did not save for their planned holiday buying. Thus, in addition to finding time to buy items, they will experience stress finding funds to spend. Why do we feel compelled to spend at Christmas? How does spending money glorifies Messiah Jesus; especially when we buy items on credit?
So, what is a realistic picture of effective stewardship at Chanukah and Christmas? Practically, it should be no different from other times. However, because of increasing attractions, demands, and enticements, more pitfalls than usual lurk everywhere. And the most significant item we neglect at these holidays is proper stewardship of time.
We forget that effective stewardship of resources begins with how we use the 168 hours God gives us each week. When we don’t steward God’s time meaningfully, my research shows we don’t steward money and other resources well, too. Out attitude to time seeps into our approach to handling money and other resources. Nevertheless, seldom do we think of stewardship of time.
A Personal Effectiveness Checkup Before Chanukah and Christmas is a Good Base for Effective Stewardship
At Christmas, the media, peers, family, friends, and others pressure us continually to do something and to go somewhere. Sadly, we find it difficult not to follow the crowd, so we burn out quickly. We need to take back control of our agenda from enticing distractions, and give it to God so we might develop and stick with His schedule.
One approach to practicing effective stewardship at Chanukah and Christmas is is to examine your attitude to planning and deciding. I have seen this Personal Effectiveness Checkup help folks reorient their approach to daily decisions. Why not try it?
This personal effectiveness checkup encompasses three essential elements. First is the reality that if you allow events to lead, you will always be trying in vain to stay current, and you will become increasingly frustrated and stressed.
Second, without specific goals and plans, anything you do will take you where you are going, which is unlikely to be where you should be going.
Third, you can’t do everything others want you to do, and you want to do, so you need a process to neglect some things, defer others, and do the essential items. This will involve learning when to say yes, no, and not now, to people whom you love.
This holiday period, reflect on the significance of Chanukah and Christmas. How does your behavior bring glory to God as you celebrate these holidays? As you celebrate these holidays, have you taken control of your decision-process from God and unwittingly given it to others? The Lord has promised He will make your path straight when you trust in Him with all your heart.
As you celebrate these holidays, meditate on Proverbs 19:21 and remember you can give a significant gift of your time to someone without spending a dime: Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
I wish you and your family a blessed Chanukah and Christmas.
(c) 2017 Michel A Bell
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