Hope In Love

Posts Tagged ‘stewardship

i lose things a lot. when i was a kid i used to come home from school without shoes sometimes because i’d taken them off while playing during recess and then forgot them on the playground afterwards. i don’t know how you go back to class without realising that you are missing shoes but it happened.

i haven’t really lost things in a while. maybe misplaced things and them found them again a few days/weeks/months later in my room burried under other stuff but not really lost. on sunday however i lost my bank card. i’m hoping that it is also burried somewhere in my room, but i don’t know if i wanna take chances with that one so i think i’m just gonna go ahead and cancel it and get a new one.

the funny thing about losing my card though is i realise how much we take things like atm’s for granted. i haven’t had to go inside the bank to withdraw money since…i can’t even remember. i was sitting there yesterday morning thinking “oh crap, i have no food and no money and no card, what am i going to do?” it literally took me hours to realise that i could just go inside the bank to make a withdrawal. crazy.

anyway, so on the topic of stewardship: losing things is definitely not being a good steward. i think i need to be more careful with my things. one way i’ve been trying to rectify this habit of losing things is by having absolute places where things belong. like when i get home in the evenings, i make sure i always keep my key in the lock of my room, that way i always know where it is. my phone is either always in my backpack or on my desk at work, otherwise i might leave it wherever i put it down. usually i always put my card in it’s designated space in my wallet right after i use it, but this time i didn’t take my wallet with to the atm so after using the card i think i just tossed it into my hand bag and i’m thinking it fell out at some point in the evening. hopefully, it fell out in my room and i’m just worrying about nothing.

but yea, if nothing else, this is a good lesson in stewardship and taking care of your belongings.

i have this friend, let’s call her…i don’t know…lindri. so this friend named “lindri” decided once upon a time that she was gonna be a vegetarian for a year. just for the heck of it. just wanted to set a challenge for herself.

i have another friend. we’ll call this one andrea. so “andrea” read some book about animal cruelty or something and decided that she was going to stop eating meat. she is now a pescitarian.

so, i’ve mentioned before that i participate in meat-free thursdays in order to remind myself to think about my stewardship duties towards the earth or whatever. i got to thinking though, does one day a week really make a difference? it’s become so routine that i do it without even thinking about it. just part of my weekly routine.

so i set a challenge for myself. i decided that for the month of april i am going to try vegetarianism. i thought it would be super hard and i would crave meat all day every day. also, i’m slightly anemic so that i thought that might cause a problem. but actually it’s been pretty smooth sailing. also a month is more condusive to real life-style changes and making an impact than once a week i think…or at least in my case it is, so maybe it might extend to more than a month…we’ll see.

one thing that andrea said when we asked her if she missed meat was that she actually just misses the convinience of meat. i totally get that. i miss being able to just walk down to mcdonalds or any fast food place and order whatever i feel like. i miss not having to worry about braai’s and such. i miss just rsvp’ing to events with a simple yes/no instead of having to also detail that i can’t eat certain foods. and it’s only been about 2 weeks. fortunately there are vegetarian alternatives at most restaurants these days…maybe not as flavourful or as wide a variety, but well, available. one thing i like about steers – which happens to be my favorite fast food place – not only are their veggie burgers tasty, you can substitute the pattie with the veggie one on all their burgers.

so here i am, thinking about the earth and stuff, and try to do good by it. trying to take care of what God has placed under my care – doing a sucky job of it, but trying none the less.

i want to be used by God. sometimes, like most people i would think, i want to be used for big things…but i do realise that God uses us for the small things as well. and i realise that for those who recieve the “small” things, they can be quite big things indeed.

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so there’s a verse that says something along the lines of when you give don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing…keep it all hush-hush cos God knows the secret stuff…and something about you’ve already recieved your reward from men…or something…and yet i’m sharing this with the world. (i really should just look up the verse.) but anyway, the way i understand the verse is that you shouldn’t go bragging about helping others out or whatever cos then the giving becomes about you…people give you the glory and not God – that is not why i’m sharing this story. i’m sharing this with the world to show how God has blessed me, and my feeble attempts at thanking him for the blessings.

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when the earthquake in haiti struck, i was moved to give something to help with whatever was being done over there. so i did. but then a thought struck me: does it have to take an earthquake to move me to help…and also it’s all very good and well to give to some project but you don’t really know what your money is being used for…all it does really is clear your conscience. i mean i chose an organisation that i knew had a good reputation, one that works with the poor a lot, but i didn’t get involved. i just sent money.

also, it’s all good and well to send money to haiti, but what about the people here in my own backyard that need help.

i then proceeded to check out sites from around here that work with the poor in order to donate to them and try to be a catalyst in people’s lives here at home. enter world vision south africa…i signed up to sponsor a child…it doesn’t cost much really – i mean i spend more in one week on food than i send to sponsor the child a month. but anyway, today i got my package with the info of the little girl i’m sponsoring – she has a name, an age, a face, she’s not some stranger in some far away country – she’s real. and suddenly the little thing becomes a big thing. it’s not much, but it means food for her and her unemployed mom. it means not going to school/bed hungry. it means she knows that someone out there cares…not for anything she has done, but just because.

i get to be used by God. i get to share His love with this beautiful little girl. i get to see His plan played out for her life. i get to be a part of the plan. i get to be a catalyst.

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thank you Daddy! i know you don’t need to use me…that most of the time i really just get in the way of what you are doing…but you continue to use me anyway. and thank you for giving me another avenue to be a good steward of what you’ve blessed me with. thank you!

so brett has this belief that worship events should be free. and in principle i agree, just dont know if it’s practically possible.

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march 4th some friends and i went to go see the Jesus Culture crew do their thing. i really dig their songs, and they are quite easy to worship with and stuff and well, i think i’ve mentioned my connection with the song “how he loves us”, sloppy wet kisses and all.

anyway, the day before that we had cell group – we are working through the pastoral letters and that day we just happened to be looking at chapter 5 which, among other things, deals with pastoral wages and stuff. we had a really good debate around that, whether we should pay for worship events, whether there should be paid worship leaders, whether the verse only pertains to pastors and not other church-empoyeed people, how that, if it does, relates to the israelites and the levites, etc.

one of the questions raised was whether it was ok from a Jesus follower point of view to pass by a homeless person to go buy a ticket to a worship event…but then in the same way, is it ok to pass by a homeless person to go buy a meal from some super expensive restaurant when it’s cheaper to cook at home…or is it ok to buy a 3 bedroom house when there are homeless people on the streets…or is it ok to buy a guitar when there are children who might go without food tonight?

another point raised was on the fact that these worship events, or these “christian celebrities” can end up being the point of worship…in other words, you end up worshipping them instead of letting them be vessels of worshipping God. for instance, why on earth do we have christian music awards? really? worship song of the year? what – God liked that one out of all the others this year? and who are glorifying when we tell the songwriter that they had the best worship song of the year?

my thoughts on the whole worship should be free thing are: worship is free. you can’t pay for worship, it’s impossible. you can use your money to worship something, but you can’t buy worship…it’s something that happends internally. but at the same time, if i’m willing to pay R300 on a Muse concert (which i totally am…so love that band…especially live) then I should be willing to pay it for a worship event. again, i’m not paying for the worship, i’m paying for the event. I’m paying for the venue, I’m paying so that the sound guy and the technicians can get paid, and for flights and accormodation for the band and whatever else…that’s where my money is going right? I can’t say i’m paying for worship because, even without the money, worship can happen…and even with the money worship can not happen.

And i totally get the whole who are we worshipping vibe. but it’s not kim walker’s fault. she’s here to worship with her brothers and sisters in africa. and well, songwriting and touring and all that is her job and according to Paul she should get paid for it. The problem is not with the musicians, or the worship event itself. the problem is when we focus on who’s leading the worship instead of who we are worshipping. the problem is when we make the worship leaders celebrities instead of fellow workers in the vineyard. the problem is that we take our eyes off the ONLY one who’s truly deserving of our worship…Christ himself.

Having said that, I must admit that I’m a huge fan of the David Croder*Band and Tree 63 and New Altum and a few other bands out there. So not excluding myself from the whole celebratising of worship leaders. For instance, a couple of years ago the Passion crew (Louie Giglio et al) were doing a world tour with a cape town stop. i saw DC*B on the lineup and bought a ticket immediately. but then they pulled out…and I was really sad for a moment…and that got me thinking, am i going to the passion conference to hear DC*B or to worship God? And once that was resolved I had an awesome time worshipping God with 6000 other young people. Again same thing happened with New Altum and Tree 63 at Arise Fest. And each time God keeps reminding me where the focus should be.

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Another stewardship goal: be a good steward of my yearning to worship. where am I laying my worship? whom am I putting before God? who/what do I worship instead of Him?

i bought the guitar. i love it. it’s beautiful. it’s awesome. i’m addicted.

next step: how to balance my time and be a good steward of that. i.e. not to spend all my time on the guitar and neglect the other things i should be doing. i really am enjoying learning to play, so much so that i get so lost in the playing that i sometimes lose track of time and have been late to things a couple of times – for example, worship practice. i play all the time when i’m home, and when i’m at work i think of playing.

i guess it’s a good distraction at times, but i don’t want it to be all i do.

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i need to get out of debt, which is part of being a good steward of God’s money. i want to pay up what i owe on my credit card and start paying things in cash. problem is unplanned things keep coming up…for instance i had to go to a funeral this past weekend in the free state, which meant using the card to buy bus tickets (travelling by bus sucks – seriously…but it’s way less expensive than travelling by plane so…). i also used the card to pay for the guitar, so now it’s building up. i have to go back home (free state) in april, which means again buying tickets. i need to have finished paying it all off by end of april if i plan to go to camp worship in may and namrock in june (oh, i can’t imagine missing namrock).

Fortunately, the day I bought the guitar i payed off the amount for the world cup tickets so at least that’s taken care of.

I just really need to get my finances in order.

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So those are my two stewardship goals for now: 1. make time for the guitar but don’t let it take up all my time. 2. get debt-free; pay up all the money i owe on my credit card.

“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendents and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:31-36]

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” [Romans 6:15-18]

THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES… BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE…OUR FREEEEEDOM!

In the world today, and even often within the church sometimes, I think people often misunderstand the concept of freedom. A lot of people seek to define freedom as the absence of restraint (rules/structure/laws). But total absence of restraint is actually more along the lines of anarchy and chaos. True freedom is obtained and possible when the right rules and structures are put in place that will benefit everyone concerned and not allow prejudice/disparity/dominance for specific people or groups of people within a system.

For Christians, often freedom is seen as getting all the good stuff God has to offer (salvation, grace, forgiveness, spiritual gifts, blessing, healing…) but without it affecting the way I want to live my life (ignoring things like sacrifice, cost, servanthood, humility, laying down my life) and that too leads to a sense of chaos and confusion and often the world looks on and sees no difference to itself and so is not encouraged to be a part of us at all.

We love to take the stuff God has to offer (similiar to the story of the Prodigal Son – take what we see as ours and run away from the Father) but we are not as quick to embrace wholeheartedly the truth that He holds out for us in His word and the way that He wants us to live.

KEEP IT TOGETHER

I read somewhere that happiness/peace/love without truth is a little like the freedom from pain that a leper enjoys – sooner or later his/her entire body falls apart. [leprosy is a disease where peripheral nerves become gradually insensitive]

If you don’t know about leprosy and you hear that there is a person who doesn’t feel pain, you will more than likely think, ‘Wow! What a priviledge. How awesome must that be. I wish I was like that. That must be absolute freedom.’ But once you start to realise the cost of the ‘freedom’ that this person has, and the place of pain in our lives as a warning mechanism (eg. when I touch a hot stove, the pain tells me to stop touching it – without that warning I might damage my hand beyond repair) then you realise that it is not freedom at all.

The same with people who claim to be Christians and yet their lives appear no different from anyone else (the area of relationships being an excellent example – i have heard horrendous stories of what Christians get up to in relationships that they think is okay because ‘it’s not sex’ or because ‘everyone is doing it’ or even ‘we’re going to get married’) and they think they are living in freedom. Yet without truth, it operates pretty much like in the case of the leper – sooner or later the lepers entire body falls apart… sooner or later the Christian’s entire life will fall apart.

IT’S AS STRAIGHTFORWARD AS

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” [John 14:15-17]

“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.” [John 14:23-24]

It’s that simple. If you call yourself a Christian then I assume you love Jesus. If you love Jesus then you follow His commands. As a Christian we need to be holding on tightly to truth, whether or not it feels good (because sometimes a bit of pain could be a positive warning sign or for our benefit in some other way) because we can trust the One who has called us to follow Him (with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.)

CONCLUSIONARY REMARKS

So maybe it is time for you to take a look at your life and maybe examine it under a different lens than perhaps the one you may normally be used to. The lens of God’s truth. Not am I happy with the way I am living and what I do with my time/money/energy and am I satisfied, so much as how does God feel about…

…the way I spend my money?

…the way I treat my parents?

…the things I do in my relationship with my girl/boyfriend?

…the way I treat my husband or wife or children?

…the underhanded business practices?

…the lies I regularly tell?

…and so on…

If there is stuff to confess and repent of (which means turn 180 degrees and start walking in a different direction as opposed to just saying ‘sorry’) then do that, restore your relationship with God, choose to follow His commands and seek His ways, and then live a life of Truth.

By: Brett Fish Anderson
Originally here

As I already said, stewardship, to me at least, includes being thankful for and using your skills and passions and money to the glory of God. One of my passions is music. I love listening to it, I love singing it…and I really want to love writing it. I write lyrics, but I don’t write the music. So anyway, the thing is, I would really dig to buy a guitar and actually learn how to play so that I’ll be able to write songs.

The problem is I’m not sure if that is being a good steward of my money. I would really dig to have a guitar…but wouldn’t the money be better spent on the homeless or something?

At the same time God put this love of music in my heart, and I want to use it to worship Him and bring him glory through it.

So where do we draw the line? And when stewardship of one resource goes against stewardship of another, how do you pick which one wins?

On that note, would buying a guitar not be good stewardship of my money? Obviously I’m not going to buy the best and most expensive guitar out there…not that rich, but I want a somewhat decent one…is spending my money on a guitar not being a good steward of that money – especially when I know that I would probably end up spending it on something more frivolous if I don’t get the guitar?


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