This thought stays with me in my more enlightened moments: nothing is mine. To that end, or to move toward that end, I try to avoid saying something is mine. I try to say, “The car I drive,” rather than “my car”, or “the place I stay,” rather than “my apartment”. This comes fairly easily, since the computer I use belongs to my employer; the apartment belongs to the landlord; the car belongs to a bank; and the clothes I wear have mostly been given me. I don’t even own my bed or desk.
In more enlightened moments, I try to think that these things belong to God. And they do. The difficulty lies in remembering and acting accordingly.
If such items belong to God, I have to treat them differently. I must care for them, but more importantly, I must think about how to use them. He’s put such things in my custody, and one day he’ll ask whether I used them well or wasted them.
This thought encompasses more than the material. We move from material to immaterial, perishable to eternal, visible to invisible. As I learn how to manage money, I begin to think how I can manage time. As I look at my use of time, I start thinking about the use of my gifts. When I consider my gifts, I consider how I care for those other gifts from the Lord, people. That’s the direction of growth in Jesus’ mind.
Will I faithfully care for the friend he’s given me? Will I dutifully use my belongings to aid others, to serve them as he teaches? Will I offer my gifts back to him in obedience to his purposes? Will I spend my days on me, or on people and purposes larger than myself?
As I show myself capable of managing things, I can begin to manage time and gifts. Perhaps I’ll grow into handling relationships well. The latter – things, time, and gifts – I need to see as tools to serve relationships. First, I serve the Lord and his agenda with these. Second, I serve the people around me. All things are tools working to these ends.
How will I use them? Whom will I serve?
Do you see your possessions as tools for a larger purpose or person?
How have you used them? Give an example.
What does it mean to be a steward of something? How is that worked out?
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