Good stewardship is about more than money and posessions…
Since the recent movies about Spider Man, most of us are familiar with the quote that Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben says to him, just before he dies…
I’ve always wondered how good old Uncle Ben even had a hunch about Peter’s “super power” – but I digress.
Uncle Ben’s statement is true, I guess – but it falls far too short. Responsibility is not only for those who have some “great power,” it’s for those of us who have a great life. And all of us qualify there.
It took me 45 years of life, 23 years of marriage, 5 kids, and a TON of God’s grace to truly “get” what I am praying you will get from this post. It’s my prayer that the LORD will do a work in you to help you get it much sooner. So, let me start by telling you about the day I had my first deep convictions about the issue…
My good stewardship story
My wife and I married in 1989, and in 1991 our first son Aaron was born. One morning after we got him home from the hospital I was sitting in his room doing some reading. Given the circumstance, it probably won’t surprise you to know that I was reading a book on the subject of fatherhood. As I was finishing up the last page of the book that morning, the very last sentence caught my attention in a way I’ll never forget. Though I don’t remember the exact words, the idea was this:
“In the end, what matters is that I am a good husband and an effective father. By comparison, nothing else matters.”
That last statement hit me right in the heart. “By comparison, nothing else matters.” It was an extreme statement, and it got me thinking. My mind began to create a hypothetical situation similar to what the author was suggesting. I found myself imagining the following, and it changed my life.
I saw myself as an old man, looking back on the events of my life. I imagined being wildly successful as a minister of the gospel (since full time ministry was where I was headed). I thought of the most extreme and successful example I could, a “ what if” scenario. What if I were able to become a widely known and effective evangelist like Billy Graham? What if I were to become a well-known author and speaker, like Chuck Swindoll? What if the LORD chose to bless me in such an unbelievable way? Surely that would be a life to be proud of. But how would it be if, in the midst of that degree of ministry success, the members of my own household did not evidence genuine faith in Christ? What if the demands of ministry, as important as they are, drew me away from diligently shepherding my own family?
My newborn son was lying in his crib, 6 feet away. I closed the book and walked over to the crib where he was sleeping. He was a treasure beyond compare; a staggering gift with which I had been entrusted. To see him eternally lost because of my own ignorance, negligence, or laziness was an unbearable thought, and a regret I couldn’t imagine living with. That is the first time I remember being aware of a vital truth that has continued to shape me to this day.
In that moment, what that meant was this:
If I were to succeed in any other realm but failed in leading my own family to a lasting, genuine faith centered around Christ, then I would be a failure in life. I have come to believe that is the way God sees it. My family is one of my greatest responsibilities. They are my first disciples. And the fact that I will someday answer to the living God for the leadership of my family has become a powerful and constant motivation in my life.
What I learned that morning has deep implications for how I go about life. For example, I cannot serve my family well, if I am not well. I cannot lead them if I am unable to lead myself. Areas of my life that once seemed unrelated to the leadership of my family have come into focus as direct contributors to it. My health, my work, my lifestyle choices, my finances, my ideas and dreams, the relationships I have with people outside my immediate family – these are just the beginning of the things that directly impact how I steward the family God has given me to lead.
Practically speaking, here are some examples of what it means for me to carry out that great responsibility:
- If my family is to be honest and trustworthy, I must take the lead in being honest and trustworthy myself.
- If I want my children to be physically healthy, I have to set the pace by stewarding my own health well.
- If I want to raise God-fearing kids, I must first fear God myself.If I desire them to be students of the scriptures, I have to set the example for them to imitate.
- If I long for prayer to characterize their lives, I must first be a man of prayer myself.
- If I want love and godly character to be the hallmark of their lives, I must first learn to walk in the power of the Spirit to be those things myself.
- And the list goes on, and on, and on, and…
DO YOU GET IT?
Before you read any further, I want you to consider how these things apply to you.
- Are you a husband?
- A wife?
- A parent?
- A grandparent?
- For what and whom are you responsible before God?
It is about your great responsibility before the living God for the life, people, and things He’s given you.
It is about your good stewardship before God. Have you taken the time to consider the true weight of responsibility all of that is? Once you see it, what will you do about it?
In everything I post on this website, I want to help you stoke the flames of godly accountability for your own life and your own family until that fire of responsibility burns strongly in your heart. Whether you are a dad like me, or a mom, or a grandparent, or an older brother or sister, our LORD desires to use you to make an eternal difference in the lives of those He’s given you to shepherd. You are an integral part of His plan to spread His fame and blessing throughout creation.
I exhort you to let that responsibility weigh on you appropriately so that you will be motivated to be intentional about fulfilling it.
Good stewardship, under the leadership of Christ, is the issue.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:44-51