Stewardship is a Spiritual Battle
by Tommy Ferguson
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“It will be a close race to get there before the enemy. You are young, and by tomorrow morning you will probably be nervous. By midmorning the idea will probably come to you that it would be better to withdraw from Noville. When you begin thinking like that, remember that I told you that it would be best not to withdraw until I order you to do so.”
Colonel William L. Roberts had given orders to Major William R. Desobry to get to the town of Noville and hold it, and then he spoke these words to him before Desobry departed. Col. Roberts commanded Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division, at Bastogne, Belgium, the site of a critical battle in WWII in December 1944.
Col. Roberts’ instruction resounds with a sense of urgency and pastoral care. He was a mentor and father figure to Desobry, who was only 27 at the time. Both men knew that Desobry’s armored unit would be outmanned and outgunned until reinforcements could arrive.
The armored task force Desobry commanded did its part to slow the German advance. Though wounded and taken prisoner, Desobry was liberated in 1945. He went on to serve in Vietnam and became a three star General.
As critical as World War II was to the course of history, nothing compares to history’s central event—the cross. Jesus entrusted the mission to the disciples; their stewardship carried it out.
When the Time Comes, Remember
“But these things have I spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:4).
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples toward the end of His “farewell discourse” in John 13:1-16:33. “These things” were trials they would face, and “their hour” was the moment His opponents would temporarily triumph. The disciples were entering a war and Jesus did not want them to “stumble” (John 16:1).
He said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
Jesus instructed them how to “fight the good fight.” They were to serve one another (John 13:1-11), and believe exclusively in Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (14:6).
As their Shepherd, Jesus comforts them with the news that they will be given something that the world would not comprehend, which was the Holy Spirit that would abide in them (14:16-18).
What did Jesus feel the night before the cross? He says it numerous times—Joy! (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13).
The Time Has Come
The force of the “farewell discourse” teaches us to enter the battle with our eyes open. The current of the world carries us along; that is, until it is checked by the Spirit.
Although opposition will be felt the minute we take any action to divert any resources of time, treasure and talent toward God’s purposes, followers of Christ—His stewards—are encouraged to “hold fast” (Luke 8:15; Heb. 10:23). If believers hold fast and take action led by the Holy Spirit, He will cause an abundant harvest.
And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance (Luke 8:15).
How do we put the tests of faith resulting from stewardship into perspective? The Apostle Paul encourages believers in Corinth to judge them in terms of eternity. He says, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...” (2 Cor. 4:17).
Doing it Right
“Thorns” can be thought of as encroachments on the life in Christ; pressures that crowd out the Spirit. For help with hacking away entanglements in the area of finances, a kingdom-minded advisor can help. Click here to learn about Kingdom Advisors, a non-profit organization that promotes biblical stewardship.
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