Life on Purpose
by Heath Ferguson
Teaching children to share is one of the
most important yet difficult tasks parents face.
Every time my daughters play together, they start out chummy and courteous but end with doll hair flying, broken plastic limbs, and shouts of “Mine!” hurled at one another. The loser of the battle begins crying and tattling, and the winner immediately flips into defense mode, explaining why the toy belongs to her. Children have a built-in sense of ownership, and relinquishing possessions to another’s control is totally foreign.
Sound familiar? The truth is, adults often have the attitudes of children, but perhaps without all the childish fighting and yelling “Mine!” We like ownership. We own our cars and our homes, and we guard closely the belongings we work hard to acquire. Nothing is wrong with acquisition, but something is infinitely wrong with the attitude. Every item, every dollar, every talent, and every minute—they all run through the hands of God first and ultimately belong to Him. We are only stewards of what He has allowed us to manage.
The word steward dates to medieval times and means “keeper of the hall.” In that day, the lord of the manor retained legal authority and ownership but delegated day-to-day operations of management to his appointed steward. The steward guaranteed that every detail was overseen and that the manor functioned properly. It is this idea of stewardship to which God has called us.
When we view our possessions through eyes of stewardship rather than ownership, many challenges simply fade away. When we understand that our finances belong to the Lord, giving a tithe becomes a joy, a steward giving back to his Lord. Every moment given to us comes from the One who made the day, and how we manage those moments relates directly to our understanding of stewardship.
Many people talk about church people who work hard and have ownership in their church or “sweat equity” in church buildings. We would be more accurate to say they are God’s buildings. When we arrive at that realization, our level of responsibility to God’s property increases. When we understand that everything is God’s, we will give it the proper valuation, and, in turn, that affects the way we respond.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25 about three stewards given a portion of goods and instructed to manage those goods. Two were “good and faithful servants,” the other was “lazy and slothful.” What was different? The way they viewed the goods in relation to the Lord. Basically, the Lord has only one requirement for the steward, found in 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” The Lord requires simple faithfulness, obedience in the activities of today, trusting God to take care of the future.
“Lord, help us to not view our belongings and time as ‘Mine!’ but rather an opportunity from you to manage it well. Give us the mindset to take care of the goods You have entrusted to us with excellence and responsibility to the Maker of it all.”
About the Writer: Heath Ferguson recently started Woodforest Free Will Baptist Church, just north of the thriving and fastest-growing metropolis of Houston, Texas.
He and his wife Jamie have been married 12 years and have two daughters, Katelyn (7) and Ashlyn (2).