The following post was written by Andrew Jacobson in 2014 as part of a discipleship blog series. We are revisiting these topics in our current sermon series and publishing his writings here with his permission.
We live in a very affluent culture that worships the almighty dollar. It is ironic that on our money is printed the statement “in God we trust” but as someone has wisely pointed out, money seems to be the only god we trust. Money isn’t the only resource that we have at our disposal. We have time, the moments and minutes that make up our day that can either be used in service to God, or selfishly safe-guarded to do what we want to do. Also, we are all endowed with gifts that should be used to serve God and our neighbor but oftentimes we just let them remain dormant as we sit on the sidelines. It is because we, as Christians, all have to learn how to properly invest and utilize these resources, that our sixth component of the Discipleship Vision is Resource-Stewarding. In this area of discipleship we want everyone at First Free to embrace that all we have is a gift from God to be used for God’s purposes, to God’s glory, including spending wisely and giving generously of our time, talent and treasure.
In light of the current of our culture that wants to pull us toward greediness, hoarding, and idleness we want to create a counter-culture of a church filled with generous, selfless, and invested people. We believe that the best foundation we can lay to build up these sorts of people is to acknowledge that God is the owner and bestower of everything we have. Oftentimes we live like the little child who walks around with their toy telling everyone “it’s mine,” all the while having forgotten that, “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) When we acknowledge this we start to loosen our grip on earthly possessions and ask the question, “How would God want me to utilize this for His glory and the good of others?” That is essentially what a steward is, someone who acknowledges God’s ownership of their time, talent, and treasures and utilizes them for God’s purposes.
The follow up question for a good steward would be, “What is God’s purpose for my time, talent, and treasure?” This is where we must remember that God is not only the owner of everything but He also has a mission for what He owns. Our resources are not given to us so we can increase our comforts but so that we can spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God is on a mission to spread His message to all nations for His glory and the salvation of the lost. God has graciously called us to participate in that mission and stewarding our resources is one way we get to participate in that mission.
It is so important that we not only identify ourselves as stewards but that we also think about stewarding with an eternal perspective. Jesus was clear when He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), which is why we can ultimately only serve one master. If we fix our eyes on Christ and have an eternal perspective we will invest our resources and our hearts in that. But if we consistently view things shortsightedly and live for the moment we will miss out on having an impact that will far outlive this life. At First Free we want people to be richly invested in the Kingdom of God and not fooled by the riches of this life. What we invest in this life will rust and fade but what we steward for the purposes of our Savior will flourish forever.
- For some great teaching and resources focused on the topic of money, whether it be debt, saving, spending, investing, etc., check out Crown Financial Ministries. Note also that Crown Financial material is regularly taught at First Free. So consider attending one of those classes.
- A great introductory book on the topic of stewardship is The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Check it out from the First Free Library.