“To Whom Much is Given…”

(1 Chronicles 4:10) Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

Enlarge my territory… a phrase that implies a desire for more…

As we grow in Christ, and become increasingly more committed to His will for our lives, we begin to have the desire for more responsibility, bigger blessings, and a greater reach into the world.  In fact, if we are truly growing, it’s a natural progression to have these desires, because we want to see the kingdom of God expand and become stronger.  Furthermore, we want to be a PART of it!  So we begin to ask the Lord to give us increase.  However, we must understand the importance of being a good steward with the blessings that God bestows on us.

First:  We have to relinquish ownership.  Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”  All that we have within our grasp is but a collection of gifts, given to us for the purpose of making the kingdom of God bigger…fulfilling our great commission.  We have work to do, and every blessing is a tool…an avenue.  “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  (Deuteronomy 8:18)

Second:  We must take responsibility.  Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.  We are are but managers of God’s great wealth and vast domain.  He has given us dominion, but we must never forget that He reigns over us.  His will and desires are what we are called and purposed to carry out, and that is no small undertaking.  It’s important, and it matters. 

Next:  We have to be accountable.  Just as the manager of a business has to answer to the owner, we will one day have to stand before God and answer to Him for the way we managed all that He entrusted to us as stewards.  We will be held accountable for how we gave of our time, our money, our love, and our commitment.

Finally:  We must work toward our reward.  Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

When we ask the Lord for blessing and increase, and He grants it, we ought never to make the mistake of viewing that as reward.  A good steward will instead add it all to the inventory, using everything wisely and carefully to magnify the Creator, all with the understanding that a greater and truer reward awaits in Heaven…one that is eternal and far more glorious than anything we’ve yet to see. 

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.  (Revelation 22:12)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I understand that I am living on borrowed time and resources with a purpose to do Your will.  I am Your creation, and as such I am Your servant.  Help me to continue to grow and mature as a steward, and as I prove myself faithful with few things, I ask you to please…enlarge my territory.  Amen.

“Withholding Nothing”

(2 Corinthians 9: 11-14)11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.  13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

Finances are a touchy subject for so many of us.  Some of us have been through some really hard times, and had nothing but our own hard work to pull us out of the ditch.  Some of us have had some help from loved ones along the way.  Some of us are still in the struggle, just trying to get through to the next pay period.  For so many of us, it’s been a fight.  I’ve felt that way a lot in my own life…like it’s just always a climb, and never that exhilarating coast downhill.  In fact, my husband and I were just recently talking about how even though we are making more money these days, we still seem to have those really hard weeks when things are just super tight.  The truth is, we aren’t always the best stewards that we can be with our money.  We are faithful with our tithe and offering, and we often go the extra mile in situations where we see need, but we just aren’t always very mindful, I guess you could say.  We can, and should, do better.  Why??  Because when we are good stewards with every penny, we are showing God that we can be trusted with more.  I have always said that I would like to be wealthy enough to be able to give to my heart’s content.  That truly is my desire, but how can I ever expect God to entrust me with abundance if I am too frivolous with what little I have now? 

When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of giving.

-Dr. Mark Batterson

Instead of going out and making unnecessary upgrades to our lives — just because — we must make it a habit to first pause and ask God what He would have us do with our increase.  Sometimes, it is that upgrade you’ve been longing for…just because.  But other times?  Other times — often much of the time — there is someone out there who needs it more than we need something shiny and fun.  We have to be sensitive to what God is doing around us, and let Him do some of it through us as well.  When you see a need, respond.  When you feel that internal push to give, don’t hesitate…just respond.  Folks, it’s just money.  It’s a tool — an avenue — that can change someone else’s life more than you would imagine. 

When we are able to let go of our finances, to release that control and allow God’s perfect will for our earnings to take place, that is when blessings will flow and create a ripple effect.  When we give, it doesn’t just allow God to bless our own lives with more, it allows someone else to experience the peace of provision.  What’s even more though, the love of God becomes evident in the lives of all who are blessed by this intricate, endless domino effect that you have begun.  It’s a beautiful thing. 

So let me encourage you today, to prayerfully consider what kind of steward you truly are with your money.  Look for opportunities to do whatever you can to make someone else’s life just a little bit easier. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, you know my heart so well.  You see my inner desires, and you know that part of who I am and what makes me tick is my desire to be a blessing…to be helpful to others.  So I ask that would help me use wisdom to be a better steward of my finances, so that I can give as much money, love, and provision as I can, to people who need it more than I do.  As always, all of the glory goes to You, Lord.  Amen. 

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