Here's a topic that has become an issue in mine and so many others lives, and I feel very strongly urged to write about it. It is for the Christian more so than for the non Christian. It has to do with a Biblical term and Kingdom Principle called "Stewardship".
Most of us understand that generally speaking Stewardship, including from the Scriptures, has to do with the taking care of and being responsible for anything at all that is given to us by the Lord [ or even by anyone ]. It is an area of exhortation and admonishment that Jesus Himself as well as the Apostles and the Prophets and many others have talked about, but it usually is heard taught when it comes to money or in some cases our health. But most of the time that's the extent of it. But when you read what Jesus said about this area and the Apostles and the whole Bible it should become clear that it is an extremely critical Kingdom Doctrine and Principle and yet one of the lesser emphasized.
One of the reasons that it is one of the top line of important values to God is simply because it's one of those that is to be applied to virtually every area of our new lives and the Kingdom of God. Right up there with teachings about the Cross, the Blood, the Word, the role and person of the Holy Spirit, etc. And it happens to be one of those areas that will not be done away with after the Kingdom is come and His will is being done on Earth.....................Prophecy will cease, tongues will cease, the gifts of the word of knowledge and revelation, etc. and so on will cease. But this particular area of stewardship will continue for all eternity. I believe that that is why we don't hear a lot about it being correctly emphasized and practiced as it should be. The devil and the flesh do not like this area of God's Kingdom so it is resisted at every turn.
It also has, as a directly related value, the teachings about how "everything must be done "orderly" and in "order", with lots of "order". People who are very Americanized and Democratized especially do not like this one because it involves a lot of rules and regulations, and codes of conduct and behavior, and protocols and manners, etc. Plus it obviously infringes on the democratic desire to "do our own thing and mind your own business". In the O.T. there is another highly critical and pivotal principle of God's Kingdom that we see in the verses "there is a Time and a Season for Everything and a Place for everything under the Sun". [This is another one I'll go into more at a later date. Even the Lord follows these Principles. He didn't set them up only for us] The New Testament teachings are full of exhortations about "order" and "placement" [ someday I'll also do a teaching on understanding "places" and everything in it's place ] and the respect due, both to those giving someone charge of something and the actual things being "placed" in their charge. As you can see with this small amount of explanation and enlightenment that this is way bigger issue than I've even discussed here. Stewardship is the sibling of Order, and Placement, and Timing, and Respect, and Deferring, and Integrity, our Testimony and way of life, our conduct and behavior, our children and the charge to teach them to be ALL these things while they're still children, and even the requirement to be perfect, [ complete, mature] blameless, spotless, faultless, guiltless, above reproach, and on and on. It's all as big as the Bible is.
It is Written in the four Gospels that Jesus said that "If you are not faithful in that which is another's, you cannot expect to be given that which is your own" [ generally speaking. God always allows Himself the right and option exclusively, of having exceptions] This statement of the Lord can be applied like a humongous tapestry of some kind over literally hundreds of areas of everyday living, Especially in the Kingdom. The Lord also, speaking through His Apostle, said that all that we have has been given to us by Him alone. There is nothing at all that we have that came from us, even when we're lost. So none of us can boast. Also we remember reading that "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father".
Because of this we have been given charge to take care of the Faith God gave us, the Forgiveness, the Mercy, the Grace, the Word, His Name, His Love, money, employment, food, shelter, clothing, lost neighbors and family members, and the list goes on and on and on. But I promised myself I wouldn't due a full length full blown 20 page research paper here on absolutely everything revolving around this issue, YET. At a later time I must do so and document it as a comprehensive theological and doctrinal statement of Kingdom Principles. But for now I'll try to keep it short. Let me here pick on a few things that aren't usually seen as that big a deal and are usually a sore spot with so many people in general, including and especially Christians. They usually throw these in the barrel of "legalism". Rules, etc. You Know......
Let's take a look at our offspring, our children, and the task and assignment and charge we're to keep of taking care of them, Correctly. The Bible says to train your children in ALL the ways that you and they will be held accountable for at the judgment seat [tribunal] of God, While They Are Still Children. Yet in so much of our world today, especially in the westernized democratic countries, [ not only America] the view and value is to let them be as childlike and as childish as they want to be for as long as they want to be and they'll somehow "Get it" when they are older. But the statistics and documented History in our world have clearly shown that this "plan" [ that hit America hard in 1960] has backfired terribly and it always will. I can't keep track of the hundreds of Christian Homes I've been familiar with and aware of for thirty years now that have either one of or both parents who still will not "compel" their children to learn about what they should and avoid learning about what they shouldn't. It works especially terrible in the home where the Mom will not let the Dad be led by the Lord to be a consistent, steady, disciplinarian, [ even a rough one if a child mandates it] because she has issues with her own Dad and the way so many other Dad's were when she was growing up. This unintentionally undermines the perceived authority of the "rank and office" of the Dad who is the head of the woman and of the house, thereby canceling the genuine true learning that might take place if they were both on the same page. I also can hardly bear to see Christian parents not only not preventing but encouraging their children to become involved in the kinds of music and other practices that have been outlawed by God for six thousand years. All because WE can't find the faith to believe that God can save them and keep them from falling if we don't allow them to be more "contemporary", "they're just children, let them be"............let them be small versions of big sinners. The flesh will love you for it.
But my point isn't only just about "what goes wrong", etc. I said all that to show one example of how bad it CAN go wrong, on top of the parents not even wanting to train, correct, teach, discipline, order, compel, prevent, etc. their children as God does with us when we become Christians. Let me ask you something to help you think about this a little differently. If a teenager or even someone pre-teen gets truly converted to Christ, truly repentant, truly believes, truly follows, the Lord and receives the New Life from Him, does the Lord Jesus and His Father desire to hold off on the "program" of sanctification, transformation, discipline, etc. until they are in say, their twenties? The answer is a resounding NO. If He wants to get the young person started as soon as possible on some areas of intense study and learning than why do we find it hard to believe that if we participate in this kind of approach that God can't be trusted to Help us with our offspring and their training. Good Question. Actually He CAN and He Will, again, IF we will believe Him to do so. But we also have to believe in this plan and His ways as well.
I did not like the authoritarianistic ways of my Dad and his generation when I was growing up. I didn't like the strictness about socializing, spending money, school, playtime if there was time after homework, etc. But that's because my sinful fallen nature was my only friend and it was my surrogate Dad, and it wanted to be Independent. Period. But just because my Dad went about carrying out his tasks and assignments in what I would call a lousy and overly harsh way, as did most of my friends parents, doesn't mean that they had the wrong idea or the wrong plan and goals and objectives, etc. They had the right idea but maybe some of the wrong mode of operation in far too many cases. [ not all families mind you] Keep in mind, the statistics of history of the people raised in the way they did it up until the fifties clearly shows that even though an awful lot of the children were treated overly harsh by todayís standards that is, there was a dramatically smaller rate of crime and other social and cultural horrors like we've had since then. AND, compared to the Horrific Violence and Damage of the sins we were committing against the perfect standard of the Holiness of God while even we were children is by far greater in comparison to SOME of the horrific things that were done to us by our misguided parents and other elders. Meaning that compared to what was done to us what we did to God's standard was indescribably worse.
Let me try to wrap this up by including briefly just a couple of other areas of Stewardship that are also seen by many as minor and not very important to God. How about the homes we live in that GOD Himself caused us to be able to live in. How well do we keep house. How concerned are we about being sanitary so we cut down on sicknesses. How well do we do at being orderly and organized and neat and tidy. Pick it up, put it away, find a place for it and keep it there, right now. Yes of course you can get carried away with that and run a concentration camp. Where's the Happy Medium, the Balance. But then why is it when someone who lives like a slob [ in my book] goes to the home of someone who keeps their house almost spotless convinces themselves that they are overdoing it and have OCD or something. I have heard countless times that those "neat freaks" have control issues and/or they're just plain bad and wrong in the way they keep their personal lives. Yet usually those who complain about the "neat freaks" have a house that too many times looks like a tornado hit it and their vehicle is a gross misrepresentation of a Christian, and they won't obey the traffic laws, and they waste their God given money, etc. and so on. It's nuts. The point here again is "Is this an area of Biblical Stewardship or not. Yes, it is because all areas are. And the smaller seemingly less important areas should be easier to get the victory over instead of justifying the failures and insulting those who do it right.
Actually these and all these kinds of things are very important to the Lord. It's just that he's not focusing only on precisely what we are involved with near as much as he is interested in our attitude and willingness to be as complete and blameless as we possibly can be, USING whatever area of stewardship we have in our lives, no matter how small. Jesus also said that "if we are faithful in the SMALL THINGS he will trust us with bigger things". Are we supposed to be concerned with and take good care of our homes, our cars, our clothing, our finances, our yards, the places we rent that belong to other people as well as to God, our children's Christian future and training, our jobs, our relationships, our ability to speak and hear and see and touch and care, our health, our testimony, our driving, and on and on. Yes We Are. Remember, even the lost can do it many times way better than we can. Letís kick it up a few notches to honor our God even more, simply because we love him.