17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 8:17 -20)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Yesterday, we briefly compared two approaches in the way we handle resources. One approach views the resources we possess as the product of our work, abilities, heritage or luck (the “owner” approach). The second approach views the resources we possess as God given resources for us to manage (the “steward” approach). We are going to spend more time on this comparison today because of the relevance to our theme and because there is a dominant materialistic world view that is very prevalent in our culture. By staying on this topic, we will also be building on the excellent comments posted yesterday.
The dominant world view glorifies socio-economic power based on the amassing of resources and glorifies the individuals who have the most resources. The Biblical view recognizes the socio-economic power that comes from resources and acknowledges God as the source. This Biblical view is clearly illustrated in our passage for today – “remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”.
The following table provides a summary of some key distinctions between an owner and a steward.
|Relationship to Resources||Owns||Manages|
|Direction/Rule Setting||Sets direction||Seeks and follows direction|
|Task execution||Provides support||Executes as directed|
|Reward Determination||Determines reward||Enjoys reward|
Based on the table, we can see why many seek to assume the role of owner of their lives. It gives them/us a sense of power, control, autonomy and independence. The truth is that this “sense” is fool’s gold because where our lives are concerned God is the real owner. As believers, we should be thrilled with the reality of God’s ownership and committed to being good stewards because God is a loving and perfect owner.
Please read the passage above carefully and answer the questions below.
- Make this personal. When are you most temped to try to take the reins from God?
- How have you dealt with these temptations?