Living Stewardship--the gift of talent
What is Stewardship?
What do you think of when you hear the word “stewardship”? Many, if not most of you, will automatically think of money, donations, tithing—but that’s not what stewardship is. Maybe you think it’s “time, talents and treasures.” But no, that’s not stewardship either.
Stewardship is not sacrificing, nor is it denying oneself. Dictionary.com says that stewardship is “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.”
No, that’s still not correct. Stewardship is love.
Stewardship--the Love Connection
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
When did love begin? Was it in the Garden of Eden, when Adam first saw Eve? Was it when God formed Adam? Was it when God began the creation of the Earth? The answer is that love has always been. We were always a part of the wonderful plan of God. He knew we would sin, but He made us nevertheless because He loved us.
Love is a Gift
In the movie Castaway Tom Hanks gets so lonely that he paints a face on a volleyball and names it Wilson. Having an imaginary relationship for him was better than no relationship at all.
God created us not as isolated beings, but to be in a relationship with others. After creating Adam, God said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). Therefore, God gave Adam a gift—Eve. Upon seeing her, Adam sang a song of joy and praise.
Unlike the false gods of other religions, our Heavenly Father not only wants us to have a relationship with each other, but with Him as well. We read that Abraham was called a friend of God (James 2:23). We see that “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
How to Share your Gift of Love
Love Requires our Spiritual Talents
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8)
What a beautifully written illustration of the body of believers! According to St. Paul, each one of us has a unique purpose. Just as the human body is composed of many inter-related parts, each equally important to the body as a whole, so too the body of believers is composed of many parts—these parts have different functions, different uses, but all are vital to the body of believers.
What are Spiritual Talents?
So what are these gifts of which St. Paul writes? A gift or “talent” is not necessarily something at which we are very skilled. Too often we think that being talented means being extraordinary.
This is not a discussion about being able to draw a picture, carry a tune, or balance a check book. Being a good steward of our talents means using whatever God has given us to the best of our ability to build up His Kingdom—giving our love to our families, our neighbors and friends, and to our Heavenly King. We each have a special combination of aptitudes and abilities, interests and passions, skills and experiences that make us who we are and equip us for what God needs us to do.
So you can’t draw a picture, carry a tune, or balance a check book? That doesn’t matter. God will make whatever He gave us “enough” to fulfill His plan if we generously share the gifts we do have with others. God made each of us in His own image and likeness, and yet unique in all the world.
As Christians we recognize that our gifts of talents are meant to be cultivated and shared with others, beginning with our family and friends, with family of believers, and with the world.
Your prayer –
Take my life and let it be
consecrated Lord to thee.
Take my moments and my days.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
always only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee.
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart—it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.
Stewardship--Living a Life of Love
Stewardship -- Living a Life of Love
Stewardship is not just another word for giving.
Stewardship is not a source of income for the church.
Stewardship is not an obligation.
Stewardship is your response to the love of God, and stewardship doesn’t start in your life until it starts in your heart.
Consider this. Every structure, no matter what it looks like, begins with the same thing. It is, in fact, the most important piece of the structure--the foundation.
As Christians, our foundation is to be built on God. If you don’t know God, then there is no reason to even consider the question of stewardship. You will naturally think that everything you have is yours, everything you earned is yours and everything you can get will be yours. There is no one else to think about. But, if you have God as the source of your life, as the creator of the ends of the earth, as the lover of your soul, then you have to pause and think about what He wants.
So if we recognize God as the author and creator of life, then we need to understand that we are living in God’s creation. In the book of Genesis it says that God created the heavens and the earth even before He created us. Then he created humanity and gave us dominion over all things. In other words, it was His creation and He asked us to manage it for Him.
“Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wagesto buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”(about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” (John 6, selected verses)
God can make what little we have to offer go a long way. Time after time in the Scriptures God takes what is offered and extends its reach far beyond what anyone can imagine.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to building a life of Christian stewardship is trusting God. We tend to hold onto things because we worry about tomorrow.
And yet God says, “consider the sparrow… consider the lilies…” He has demonstrated His love for us by giving the ultimate gift, His only begotten son. He showed His love for us while we were yet sinners, strangers and aliens. He said I am going to do this to show you my love.
The truth is that if we know God, then we know He will open doors, He will make a way for
blessings to flow. He will take care of us. Too often we say “I’ll respond tomorrow, I’ll give later, I will volunteer to help when I have more time.”
Tomorrow may never come. We need to trust God today. We need to live life like the widow, who as bad as things looked, knew she could depend on God to take care of her.
She was blessed in her giving. She walked away satisfied even though she gave her all. She walked away knowing that God loved her.
I pray that you and I can live that way too. I pray that we will know that God loves us and that he will provide for us, so we can respond and share generously.
When we give our offerings, our talents, our gifts, our love, God turns around and gives it back to us as something beautiful, something for us, and something for the kingdom on earth that He is building.
So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the crucified for victory.
Lift high the cross;
The love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore His sacred name.
© 2014 Linda Lum