Financial stewardship, in this article, is a reference to managing the money that God placed in your trust. A steward is a manager. Stewardship is about management. Read Luke 19:12-27 with this definition in mind. Notice the following insights.
1. God owns everything. Notice in the text that the master owned the money that was given to the servants. In like manner, God owns all that we have. Our jobs, businesses, money, investments, houses, along with our bodies, relationships, and even our minds belong to God.
We are not the owners. We are simply stewards or managers of what God has placed in our trust.
2. God has given us what He believes we can manage. Notice that the master, in our text, gave the servants what he believed they could handle. Whatever God has given us, God believes that we can handle it.
Our job, our income, our business, and even our bills and creditors are allowed to be in our lives, because God believes and knows that we can handle them. We may not believe that we can handle them (smile), but God knows that we can.
And sometimes, we believe that we can handle even more. This may be true. However, we must learn to trust God's timing. God has more wealth for some of us, after some more time has passed.
Another point here is that when we get more, God expects more out of us. Therefore, we should be careful about what we ask God to give us.
3. God expects profit. Notice that the master in the text gave the servants money with the expectation that when he came back they would have more than what he gave them. So it is with God and us. God is expecting us to take what He has given us and make a profit.
Notice that neither the master nor God gives us micro detailed instructions about how to make a profit. God gives us the instruction to make a profit and leaves the details to our wise judgment.
Some will do well in stocks, others real estate, others with their business, and others with even precious medals. But all believers should understand the divine instruction to be profitable somehow with the money that God has placed in our trust.
Spending money on items that go down in value, consumer items, will not produce a profit. We must spend money on things that go up in value, assets.
Cloths, cars, jewelry, eating out, entertainment, vacations, and the like are consumer items that don't produce profit. Stocks, bonds, real estate, businesses, and the like are examples of assets that can produce profit.
Although we may need a certain amount of consumer items, we must work diligently to keep consumer spending down, so we can keep our investing in assets up.
4. God will bless us based on our profitability. Notice that the master blessed the profitable servants at their levels of profitability.
The most profitable was most blessed. The moderately profitable was moderately blessed. In similar fashion, God will bless us in proportion to our being profitable.
If we live on less than we make, so we can invest in profitable assets then we can look forward to retirement with dignity. We can enjoy some of the luxuries of this world.
5. God will also punish lack of profit. Notice that the master had no patience for the unprofitable servant. Not only was the money taken back from him, but he was severely punished. God is a merciful God, but at some point, justice requires dealing with sin.
It is sin to take what God has given us for His glory and profit and use it for simply our creature comforts. Therefore, we should learn and apply financial stewardship principles, so we can be profitable and blessed, instead of unprofitable and punished.
In summary, God owns everything, and we are simply His stewards. God has given us what He knows we can manage. He expects us to be profitable.
In fact, He will bless us at our level of profitable financial stewardship. And He will punish lack of profitability. Click here for my review of Rev. Terry Dean's package of "Christian Financial Freedom."