40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

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13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”  15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”  16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do?  I have no place to store my crops.’  18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do.  I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you.  Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13 – 21)

 

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Stewardship as we consider the theme A World in Need.

We started our consideration of The Discipline of Service by looking at a parable.  We are going to do the same with the Discipline of Stewardship.  The parable of the Rich Fool is another masterpiece by Jesus.  If you haven’t been following the stock market lately, I can summarize what has been happening for you in one word – brutal.  There have been a few good days but overall, stock prices are down considerably since the start of the year.  And, that’s only a part of the story because there are many workers worrying about loss of income due to business closures and a slowdown in commerce.  Whether you are directly impacted by the volatility of the economy or not, the shifting sand of financial resources brings the Discipline of Stewardship into very sharp focus.

Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the question below.

 

Question

How can we demonstrate an attitude towards material things that provides a Christ-like example to a world in need?

 

 

9 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 26 – Stewardship

  1. Our material things are not our own. They are gifts and blessings from the Most High. They can be taken away by natural and unnatural disasters. This attitude prevents us from being too attached to our material things, and hopefully encourages us to share with our brother and sister in need.

  2. By sharing half your loaf.
    Many people say they do but they don’t.
    That is a fact.
    Even some church leaders have favorites as to who gets help or not.
    Norman was the only Jesus like soul that helped towards a fund for my daughter.
    Because she has a name and I guess I did not look homeless or for whatever reason the church we belonged to in TT and gave donations did not give a farthing.
    People are basically selfish and I have no qualms about what I say.
    You have to want to be like Jesus to really give from your heart.
    The example is what is happening here in Florida where thus woman bought out the whole Dollar store with all the paper items and did not want to share a box.
    How does one explain that behavior.?
    Just give when you can and don’t expect anything in return .
    I know an 82 year old man who fits that rich man in the verse and I see exactly what has happened in the verse happening to him.
    God provides in so many ways when you least expect him to so why keep all for yourself?
    Because we are home now I realize we can survive with very little but because we are creatures of Western comfort we don’t realize how wasteful we can be and how we take things for granted.

  3. Sometimes it’s a grand gesture of giving and other times it’s something so small that it catches the recipient by surprise because of the impact. Whatever it is I remind myself it is private. No one has to know but God (and when possible not even the recipient.)
    One of my favorite “material” thing is what I call fun jewelry. So not a birthday gift from my husband or a family heirloom. Sometimes it’s one of a kind. But if I’m around someone (shopping, the airport doctor’s appointment) who admires the piece of jewelry I have on, I sometimes take it off immediately (or before I leave) and hand it to her as a gift. It brings joy and surprise. Most of all I hope it become contagious and women all over the world will share their jewelry with a stranger. For me it reminds me that things should be shared. I can’t take any of it with – time, money, clothes, forgiveness, a smile, etc.
    What’s your jewelry? 🙂

  4. We’re seeing how a culture of individualism (every person for themself) and the illusion of scarcity (that there aren’t enough resources to go around) negatively impact our relationship with material goods.

    I think about the Lord’s words in Matthew when He tells us not to worry – that just as He clothes flowers in a field, He’ll provide even more for us. We must reject the attitude of taking, taking, taking rather than giving. With the peace of knowing God supplies our needs, we can give without feeling like something is being taken from us.

  5. The vision that comes to me as it has many times in sharing. During the evening prayer for our Muslim gardi (5 day guards,9night guards) when we lived in Africa they would wash, get freshly dressed, then sit cross legged and share whatever they had to eat. This was mixed into a mush on the huge metal platter, then they would give praise and dip their fingers if there was nothing else to eat. They allowed me to be a witness to this ceremony. One Sunday night I emptied the fridge if all the left overs,boiled the lot and made a tasty stew for them. Next day they all came one by one to thank me. It was very humbling. It taught us not to be proud of the grander things, not to waste, as these men had nothing but the gowns they wore,, the dagger that was our protection or death, and whatever they found to eat. We did not understand this until our youngest guard who knew some English came to explain his lifestyle to us one evening. The Expat community rarely mixed with their servants, far less the magardi. Jesus had no boundaries except those that he chose to carry on. He sat on the ground too and shared. I never forget the above scene. Amen

  6. First of all, I think it would do us good to remind ourselves that the reason we have the material things we do, is because God is allowing us to “borrow” what we have from Him. The things we cherish could be destroyed, lost, stolen, etc., in an instant. If we think from this perspective, it should be so much easier to share or give what we have to those who need it more, or to those to which it would have more meaning.

    It is sometimes so surprising to see how appreciative or happy someone is when I give them something that they’ve seen me with, or they have seen at my home. Even if it’s something that is useful to me, knowing how much value it would bring to someone else, is enough for me to tell myself I have benefited from it for a while, and now someone else can too.

    I have a relative who is very basic, simple, and easily satisfied with what God has blessed her with. I don’t have a lot to give, but I have seen sheer gratitude and joy when I give her something she has seen in my home. It makes my heart smile. She probably doesn’t even realize how much she has given to me every time she says to me, “Let me pray for you.” I value her prayers very much.

    In this world of need, we should give willingly, unselfishly, and without boasting, from the heart. I come from a big, wonderful family, but there are 3 specific siblings (and Mommy) who come to mind that give in their own way and have been a blessing to me.

    We should look at our material belongings as such, and be willing to share or give to the people in need around us. What we might think is a small gesture sometimes, can mean a world of difference to someone else. The person you have blessed, if they have the right heart, will never forget and will be forever grateful.

  7. To me, the material possessions we have in this world is given to us to give glory to God. We should be generous enough to share. I have this favorite devotional that I kept in my notes. A very good reminder of God’s provisions and sustenance and that our Lord provides and in control of everything:

    Living in the moment can be hard. It’s difficult to simply enjoy today, what we have today, and who we get to experience it with today. We have so many demands for our attention, demands on our schedules, and demands on our mental energy. Sometimes it feels like today is impossible to concentrate on because tomorrow is already tugging on us.

    Jesus told us to do something radical—He told us not to worry about tomorrow. He tells us in Matthew 6:34 that He will equip us to deal with today’s trouble only—not tomorrow, next week, or next month.

    Some days this is harder than others. It’s easy for me not to worry about tomorrow when “tomorrow” is supposed to be a relaxing Saturday off. But it becomes a lot more difficult when “tomorrow” is the day that I have that big meeting (or dentist appointment!).

    If we worry about tomorrow and whatever we think it might bring, we’re trying to control something that’s actually under His control, and not ours. If we’re honest with ourselves, we really have no idea what might happen tomorrow. We don’t even know what’s going to happen later today! However, we can know the one who controls today. And tomorrow. And forever.

    Find some time today to rest in that fact. Enjoy this moment, this day, knowing that God has today and tomorrow in His hands. Let His peace make “today” meaningful.

  8. I think that our attitude toward material things is to recognize that they are from God. That we must be thankful to God for whatever we have. That our trust must be in God and not in the accumulation of material things to secure our future. Also, that we must show love for others not only with kind words but also with actions to help them however we can. That we should not give to get but to give because we can, through God’s blessings. I have given when it meant denying myself. Eg assisting someone with her children’s school fees when it meant not being able to afford extra lessons for one of my children. When I think of that situation I am ‘blown away’ as the same week I gave her, out of the blue, the school principal one morning told me, ‘ I just feel like doing something for your son, I want to give him free extra lessons’. For me, it is necessary to seek God daily & deeply to know how to be obedient to Him, to nurture a mind set of keeping God at the centre of my life, seeking His will in all situations, to not be anxious about the future. I know that without God I am nothing and nothing I have gives me worth.

  9. Comment from Pastor Anthony Oliver:

    This takes a decision to unlearn the values we have been taught regarding what it means to be truly successful from the dominant cultures all around us. Further, we must decide to keep on learning the values of God’s upside down kingdom that come into conflict with that of influential opinions and so-called proven wisdom. It is a commitment in community to choose to trust that God is more insightful than we humans are on how we should embrace and utilize material things. There will be a continual struggle as we engage in this exercise because we find ourselves conflicted in the changing circumstances of life. Dr. John Stott refers to the “double nakedness” of human beings, that is, the biblical idea that we brought nothing into the world, and we will take nothing out of it. Perhaps we should reflect on this idea as we live daily.

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