Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stewardship, part 1

‘Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.’ I Cor. 4:2

Biblical stewardship is the concept that God owns everything. As it relates to individuals, God owns everything you have, plus God owns your soul and your body. Personally although I have known this for a long time, it takes a while before some things sink into my thick skull. I no longer rail on the Israelites that kept falling into sin in the wilderness during the 40 years that Moses led them, without realizing that I am no better. Had I been there, I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long.

When God allowed me to start Grace Plastics, then known as Grace Polymers, I noticed that there were some months that were very good and some months that really stunk. As I looked back to analyze the reasons for the difference, I came to the conclusion that often the good months were when I determined that the company was not my own, but in a real way I would daily give the company to God. And conversely, the lean months were when I let pride get in the way or in other ways put myself at the helm. I was learning expensive lessons that cost me thousands of dollars in lost profit because I often forgot that all belongs to God.

This does not mean that whenever a Christian businessman fails, he is not giving himself to God, because this past winter was very dark and difficult for Grace Plastics, but I don’t think the reason was because of some spiritual failure on my part. Besides if you look at the patriarch Job you don’t find him losing everything because he was a spiritual failure. It started out as a contest between God and Satan. Incidentally, contrary to what some have said, God won the contest – Job came through as God predicted he would.

Those of us who know Jesus as personal Savior, need to be good stewards of what God has given us. We all have been given bodies so we need to do what it takes to keep the body healthy and functioning well. If God has given someone a sickly body, we should not condemn a wise Creator. We just are not smart enough to always know why. But to allow the body God has entrusted to you to be hurt by tobacco, booze or other drugs, diet, or in other ways, is not being a good steward of your body. Also God has given you a soul which first and foremost is most valuable to God and ought to be to ourselves as well. Therefore to reject Jesus as Savior is the worst thing you can do to your soul. If God blesses you with a spouse and you are again blessed with children, these are eternal souls belonging to God. But He has entrusted them to your care. You now have the awesome responsibility of leading the young impressionable souls to salvation and then to walk with God. But they are not yours, they belong to God. It may sound cruel, but if God so chooses to take them Home early, that is His decision. If we have settled upon God’s ownership, we can accept the tragedy with more grace. Then God owns all He has blessed us with materially. Once we settle this in our minds, we will not grudgingly give up the tithe, but joyfully offer it as sacrifice to God.

There is more to this subject that I want to address, but in order to keep these posts from getting out of hand, I will continue this within the next month.

On a personal note, we are four weeks from Michelle and Aaron Steele’s wedding day, so things are getting tense as deadlines loom. But God is smoothing out the rough places and providing grace for each day. We are thankful for His provision and for His leading in the lives of our children.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Declaration of Independence

Yesterday was July 4, 2009, and 233 years since the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Then they signed their names to the document and sent it to King George. Many of these same brave men saw their families and fortunes ruined over the next years as the war that followed wrecked havoc on so many.

I decided to read the Declaration of Independence to some family members yesterday. I would recommend that all Americans read it. It is interesting, and of the many reasons given for the separation from the Crown, we can see some similarities to an oppressive government we have today in Washington. Perhaps we don’t have it quite as bad since apart from a couple incidents in recent years, we don’t have soldiers being sent into this country to kill our citizens. But there are other situations which our founding fathers did not have to deal with, which now face us. Situations of government intrusion which would make them roll over in their graves. Between government health care which gives bureaucrats virtual control over life and death of many people, and ‘cap and trade’ which would ruin our economy, especially manufacturing, this country is at a cross-roads.

In our Children’s Church, we started going through Judges. The cycle that repeats itself is: Israelites sin, they are punished by God, they repent, and God provides deliverance. I don’t know if what is happening is judgment by God or not, but I do believe that we have those in power who are deeply entrenched in serious wickedness. Read Romans 1:21-32 and that just scratches the surface.

And although there are problems in high places, there are many things that can cause us to rejoice. Churches are being planted and growing as never before. The church we are now attending was started six months ago with 45 people and since early May we have had only one Sunday with less than 100 in attendance. From reports in countries where Christians face persecution there is unprecedented growth as well. The Gospel cannot be contained. God is doing a great work in this old world. We, as blood-bought believers, have every reason to praise God for His goodness. Let us never wallow in how bad things are, but lift our voices and proclaim the power of the resurrection of the Lamb!