There is no better way to practically define what total life stewardship really is than with this simple phrase: keeping the heart of God at the heart of living. Stewardship is all about carrying out the wishes of God, the Owner, as one of the caretakers of His property.
As we probe the extent to which God’s ownership and our stewardship impact how we live, we cannot ignore one of the most common areas of American life—how we invest. We cannot explore this area of life stewardship without first being reminded of the two foundational truths of life stewardship: first, God owns everything; and second, it is our job to carefully and wisely manage everything He entrusts to us.
The issue of ownership is the central demand of the gospel. Are we willing to surrender everything, give it all up, return back to the rightful Owner everything we have claimed to be our own? When we find ourselves tempted to count what we own, we must remember, it doesn’t take very long to count nothing! Do you count your stuff as the owner or as His steward?
The book of Acts is an historical book that gives us an invaluable glimpse into the life and times of the early church. If what we see in this book were carefully studied, it could serve as a compelling blueprint for how Jesus intended for His church to live and fellowship together.
The idea of distinguishing between ownership and control is a new concept for many wealthy families. From a biblical stewardship perspective, we should at least mentally acknowledge that we own nothing—we are mere caretakers of our Heavenly Father’s property. But the fact is, the deed to our house, our stock certificates, and the titles on our vehicles still have our name on it.
Do you remember Joseph who, by God’s providence, climbed from being a lowly slave to second-in-command in Potiphar’s house? Life was as good as it could get for Joseph—except for Potiphar’s wife, who wanted Joseph for herself. When she pursued him, Joseph rejected her advances. What caused him to flee the temptation was his awareness of who he belonged to. Remembering this is so critical to living a successful life of stewardship.
Only when we accept the truth of God’s ownership of everything, can we be prepared to ask the one question that changes everything. It is a question we must ask daily, sometimes even hourly. The question is this: God, what do You want me to do with all that You have entrusted to me?