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Stewardship in Your Daily Life

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Stewardship
Bible, Money, Calculator

The topic of stewardship has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  My husband and I are in the process of creating a new budget, Dave Ramsey-style.  We have been talking a LOT about money, and about the things that we own, how we spend our time, etc.  Miriam Webster defines stewardship as:  the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially:  the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.

All of this talk reminds me of the Parable of the Talents.  The summary of the story is that a man was going out of town and entrusted some money to three of his servants.  One servant received five talents, and upon the return of the master, had gained five more talents.  One servant received two talents and gained two more.  The third servant hid the money away to give only the one talent back to the master.  The master was angry with the third servant and called him wicked and slothful.  He took away his one talent and gave it to the one that now had ten talents.

Jesus specifically mentions that this parable relates to the kingdom of Heaven, and our rewards for service for our Lord and Savior.  Although it deals with money as the example, I think the topic of stewardship can be applied to many different areas of our lives.  Here is how our family addresses the issue of stewardship:

Money

I think stewardship regarding money is easy on paper, but a little more difficult in reality.  We need to be careful with the resources that God has given to us.  We need to be sure that our family is provided for, and that our future has a buffer against any unforeseen monetary calamities.  I’ll be honest.  We have a debt issue that we are dealing with right now.  The fact that I was laid off for nearly a year did not help us when we already had bad money habits in place.  We have decided that we are going to make some drastic changes to get ourselves back on track in this area!

Time

Time has become a very hot topic for us right now.  My husband recently changed jobs and now works shift work.  He is also in college (online) right now.  He has another year before he will earn his bachelor’s degree.  I try to plan our family meals, as well as the times that I work, around his schedule.  Time for us as a couple, as well as family time, are very important.  I used to work one full-time job.  Now I work two part-time jobs (a necessity for the time being to take care of the aforementioned debt issue), homeschool our 12 and 14-year old children, write this blog, go to college online, and make bracelets to sell on Etsy!  We are excruciatingly aware of time constraints right now.

We have all but eliminated our television time.  I am not condemning television, but I will say that it can certainly use up a lot of time!  Now my husband and I will watch a couple of hours one or two nights a week (or less!) as time to just relax together.  Honestly, anything that doesn’t require any brain power is a nice treat for both of us!  We also have to watch how much time we spend with social media.  I am probably the most guilty in this area.  I did just go through all of my emails and unsubscribed from an enormous amount of them! Most of them have Facebook pages, so I don’t have to miss out on any updates.  I realized how interrupted my day was becoming because I felt the need to check my phone every time I heard a notification!

Environment

We recycle and compost.  It’s surprising how much you can reduce your household waste by doing these two things!  Fortunately, our town is recycling friendly, and there isn’t much that we can’t set out in the bin by the curb!  All of our kitchen scraps go into our compost pile which eventually becomes some lovely black dirt for our garden.  I have to admit, I feel better knowing that (hopefully) we aren’t adding our own tons of trash to some already-overfull landfill.

Food

Stewardship regarding food?  You bet!  One of my biggest pet peeves is WASTE!  I hate to throw food out.  We are not perfect in this area, but I do try to use everything that we purchase.  I generally don’t make meals that have a lot of leftovers.  If there are leftovers, I try to make sure they get eaten.  I am working on curbing my impulse grocery purchases so we do not have items in the house that will never get used.  I am making menus (even if just in my head) and purchasing the items needed for those specific meals.  I try to keep the basic staples always on hand so I don’t have to run to the store to make additional purchases.

Another side of this topic is:  Food is fuel.  Food is simply for nutrition and energy.  The fact that it is also very yummy can make it a stumbling block for many of us.  I know that it is easy for me to overindulge.  Keeping track of calories helps me in this area, but it is a conscious decision that I must make.  Overindulging keeps us from being good stewards with our bodies as well as with our money as we purchase unhealthy food.

Bodies

The food topic brings us to this one, but I would like to expand on it.  Our bodies are the temple of our Holy God.  We should care for them diligently.  What we put in them (food, alcohol, drugs, smoking), what we put on them (clothing, tattoos, hairstyles, piercings) and what comes out of them (our speech), all reflect our personal stewardship of our body.  We should think carefully about how we honor (or dishonor) God with the choices that we make with and for our bodies.

Things

Yes, we have lots of things!  Electronics, clothing, dvd’s, cd’s, toys, cars, appliances.  Lots of things.  One idea that we are always trying to impress upon our children is to take care of their things!  Not that these things have any spiritual value, but they should be cared for nonetheless.  Those things were purchased by someone with money.  Someone used their time to make their selection.  If broken, it will cost money to replace them.  Replacing things that were broken or lost because of carelessness does not reflect good stewardship of the resources that God has blessed us with.

In addition, we need to be careful that those “things” do not clutter up our lives, distract us from, or get in the way of, worshipping, glorifying and serving our God.  I have always been very practical.  Now, after contemplating this topic for some time, I find it very difficult to keep anything that doesn’t serve a specific purpose, or hold sentimental value.  I have been striving to give away or sell anything that we just don’t need.  Be warned, however, that you need to make sure that you and your spouse agree in this area before you start “cleaning house”!

Talents

Now these talents I am referring to are not money, but actual talents such as:  teaching, singing, speaking, etc.  The Bible tells us that everyone has at least one spiritual gift.  How we exercise our gift(s) relies on our God-given talents.  If we do not use these talents, we miss opportunities to glorify God, edify the church, and draw others to Christ.  We need to be good stewards with our talents, since they were given to us specifically to serve God.

Since everything that we have is not ours, but God’s, I believe that Godly stewardship is a very important part of a Christian’s life.  The things that we have are not our own resources, but have been entrusted to us by God.  How we use them here on earth determines our reward in Heaven as well as the blessings that we receive here on earth!