The 4 Blessings of Christian Stewardship
We live in a society of instant gratification, with many people concerned with only the “here and now”. We also live in a society that is more materialistic than ever before. In America, we love to “treat ourselves” to nice things and post Instagram photos of our expensive perfectly plated meals from fancy restaurants we’ve visited. Are these cultural tendencies wrong? Is stewardship an unnecessary skill?
I think the answer is both yes and no and depends on whether or not you are being a good steward with the money in your possession.
What is stewardship? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”.
I particularly love the second half of that definition: “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”.
As a Christian, I believe that finances are something that God entrusts to us to carefully manage. It can be easy to get caught up in the mentality of “I worked for it so I deserve it and can do with it as I please.” While it’s true we do work hard to maintain our stream of income, I believe that ultimately all of our resources are blessings that have come from the Lord. And as a Christian, I also believe we are called to be good stewards of the resources that we are blessed with.
Here are a few reasons why good stewardship matters:
1. Stewardship allows us to save and invest
If you aren’t carefully keeping track of your money and what you are spending it on, it is going to be very hard to do these things. A budget is the key to success in these areas. Luke 14:28-30 says, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” If we are not keeping careful track of the money we are spending, how can we plan for the future and accomplish our goals? Additionally, as much as we like to think we have control over our future, the reality is that we do not. We can’t predict a flat tire, a job termination, or unexpected health issues. Keeping track of our money through a budget allows us to keep up with our everyday expenses and also to save for both the unplanned events that we can’t control and also planned goals for large purchases such as a car or home. It also gives us opportunity to invest in our future or in other things that matter to us.
2. Stewardship allows us to pay off debt
Let’s face it– the number of people we meet in every day life that are truly “debt-free” are few and far between. It is nearly impossible these days to go to college or purchase a home without taking out a loan. The reality is that there is almost no way around taking out loans for some necessary situations. However, I do think that there is a difference between taking out a loan for a house and putting a 42 inch TV on a credit card. Manage your money wisely and don’t rack up unnecessary debt.
When you do have debt, whether it is from a car, home, student loans, or even just debt from poor choices of the past, it is vital to pay it off as quickly as possible. Romans 13:8a says, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another…” As mentioned, sadly having 0 debt is next to impossible in today’s society as a young person. But I want to challenge you that if you have debt to be diligent in paying it off. I want to challenge you even further by encouraging you to pay it off ASAP! If you’re able to pay more than the minimum payments, do it! The debt snowball method is a great way to accomplish this. Be wary of debt, friends! I know from personal experience that it is a trap and can take a loooong time to pay off poor or hasty financial purchases.
3. Stewardship allows us to give back to God
As a Christian, I believe that it’s important to tithe and give regardless of financial situation. Biblically, it has been said to give 10%, or the “first fruits” that God has blessed of us back to Him, acknowledging that all that we have is from Him. I don’t want to split hairs over the exact amount or percentage Christians should be giving, but if you’re not already tithing/giving regularly, I encourage you to meditate on this and decide what God is asking of you/your family: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
4. We are blessed beyond comprehension!
Here in America, we are more blessed than we will ever be able to fully comprehend. Most of us have jobs, cars, and a roof over our head; not to mention TVs, smartphones, and laptops! Chances are if you’re reading this article on a computer or device on working wi-fi, you are wealthier than a majority of the world. When I sit back and think of all the blessings that God has given our family (a stream of income being one of them), it motivates me to strive to honor Him by being a good steward of our family’s finances. This is ultimately why good stewardship matters—honoring God in all aspects of our lives, even with our money.