Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being Stewards: Making Our Own Decisions

Lately, I've been mulling over the definition of a steward.

1. the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc.  
2. the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving (

The Bible tells us that we are God's stewards.  We steward everything He gives us: clothes, money, food, property, natural resources, animals, plants, children...everything.

I've heard two perspectives on this matter:
1.  Some people believe that we need to seek God and wait for Him to tell us how He would have us steward the possessions He has given us.  
2.  There are other people who believe that we should just choose what we want because it's our stuff and, if there is a God, He doesn't care about our material goods.

I think both views are missing the point.  We shouldn't have to ask God how to steward what He has given us because He's already told us in the Bible.  God wants us to make good decisions with the things that He places into our care.  He wants our decisions to bring about fruitfulness and abundant provisions for us and our families.  Read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  The master does not tell the servants what to do with his money.  They decide themselves what to do.  The first 2 men go and trade the money and make double what they are given.  The third man gets scared and hides the money he is given in the ground.  His master calls him wicked and slothful for doing so.

Let me be clear about something:  He entrusts US with the decision making because He *wants* us to choose.  I believe it is very legalistic to tie ourselves to the belief that we HAVE to wait to hear from God on every single decision that comes up in life.  While I think that seeking God's will is important, we cannot hide behind this belief like some kind of life-preserver.  God does not want us to put our lives on hold during a decision making session simply because we have not heard from Him.  He has given us the FREEDOM to decide what to do and how to do things in our lives, and sometimes He's waiting for US to ACT because He plans to reward us for our faith to act (even without exact instructions).  

Another thing we should remember is that He has given us the grace to find freedom in being able to escape the legalistic views.  He is not a legalistic God.  He is an abundantly gracious and merciful God.  He wants us to be free to make our own decisions.  No matter what we choose, He will use our choices for our good.  We need only to believe that if we act as good stewards and recognize that we need to make a certain decision, it would be right and wise to make that decision, even if we don't hear from God about it.  We don't need to hear from God in order to make a decision.  There are going to be decisions in our lives that we will have to make, no matter how much or how little we pray.  Sitting around "waiting" for God when we should be acting is not pleasing to God.  He is not going to come down out of Heaven and tell us everything He wants us to do.  He entrusted us, as stewards, with the ability to think and act on our own accord for the benefit of us and our families.  To neglect that responsibility is shameful and may even be considered sinful, as James says in 4:17:  "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."  If you know that a decision is the right thing to do, do not remain captive to the belief that you must hear from God about it.  Do what is right in the eyes of the Lord: make the decision yourself. 

1 comment:

Goggie said...

You are correct, Rachel. To show us His will, God has given us His Scriptures to guide us. Everything we do should be in accordance with what He has directed in His Word. Everything we do should be to bring glory to Him and to love others as we love ourselves. Some decisions are "no-brainers" where what we should do is perfectly obvious. For harder decisions we must use the intelligence He gave us to weigh the options and select the best one in terms of faith, finances, health, home, and family. Then, when we have done our best to make a decision and have prayed that God will guide us, we step out in faith that He will be with us. Doing all, of course, according to the framework given by His Word.

To be a steward we must have something we are responsible for. Certain things are obvious: our bodies, our families, our finances, our faith - not necessarily in that order. God will honor our desire and commitment to be a good steward. When faced with a stewardship decision, I pray for God's guidance, rely upon His Word, make the best decision I can, and step out in faith and confidence that He will open the door and lead the way - or if I'm wrong, He will provide an alternative. He is faithful.