This Week’s Key Verse: “. . . it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.
Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
‘For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me. I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothing and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ ” Matthew 25:35-40
Stewardship (paraphrased) is the handling of resources given to a person; the careful management of something entrusted to someone. We often, and rightfully, think of time and money. But, as I got to thinking (as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom), I feel assured that I am a good steward of the time the Lord gifts me as well as of the financial resources. I am mindful to plan each day according to what needs to be completed, and I am mindful of the budget we have for our family (most of the time). I realize, though, that time and money are not the only gifts the Lord bestows upon me; He has gifted me with gifts and talents in His grace. Gifts that make me an ambassador of Christ. Each of us is endowed with specific gifts.“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging , let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others , let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
The Lord has generously poured into me the gifts of serving and encouragement. These gifts are complementary and often go hand in hand. In serving, I have the gift of hospitality. I enjoy hosting and serving and making people feel comfortable and loved (encouragement). But am I always a good steward of these gifts? Am I always being an ambassador of Christ? Am I always making my Father in heaven proud? There are times when I’m not the least bit interested in sharing my gifts with others. I know, in those moments, my stewardship is less than stellar. I learn this most often when I am called to encourage or serve difficult people or circumstances. It’s in those moments the Lord uses my resistance to refine me, and I realize that I am the difficult variable, not who or what God has laid before me.
I am human and profoundly stubborn. (Ask my husband … ask God.) I am delighted to serve when it’s easy or convenient. I am happy to encourage people who want to be encouraged, who want to see the glass as half-full. But that is not always where God calls me. He doesn’t ask me to be a steward of His gifts when it is only pleasant and sweet. He calls me when it is hard and tiresome. “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” Psalm 50:14-15It is in these times He (His amazing grace, goodness, faithfulness) is revealed to me in profound and mighty ways. He works through me. I am able to abandon self. I am filled to overflowing with His ability. He shares His Holy Spirit with me and sets me on paths of obedience. And though I meet Him first with moaning and resistance, He blesses me profoundly with grace and mercy. I am able to serve and encourage through Him.
I use my gifts of serving and encouragement as a thank you to the Lord for saving my life; His gift of the cross and the shedding of His blood to wash me clean. I long to be a love offering to the Lord, and if that means serving or encouraging when it is difficult or uncomfortable or seemingly impossible, then I will do it with obedience to Him and with His joy set deep in my heart. In my deep and abiding love for Him, I will choose to be a steward of His goodness.
I long for Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Be blessed and be a blessing!