Stewardship 16 – rewards

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship and God’s eternal rewards for faithfulness.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:5-15

5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  14  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  15  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Observations

  1. Summarize Pauls’ arguments in your own words in each of the following sections:
    1. Verses 5-8
    2. Verses 9-11
    3. Verses 12-15
  2. Paul speaks of Spiritual ministry in wo metaphors in this section:
    1. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 5-9a (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
    2. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 9b-15 (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
  3. In both these metaphors Paul refers to “the reward” for good work (verse 8 and verses 13-15).
    1. What does “the Day” refer to? (verse 13)
    2. What “test of fire” do you understand Paul speaks about in context here [hint: he is talking about “builders”…]?
    3. What do you make of verse 15, also referring to “builders”: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Application and Prayer

In this section Paul refers to apostles specifically, and spiritual minsters in general who use their gifts to build into believers (churches and individuals); he promises that their ministry will be revealed for truthfulness when Jesus returns and they will receive a reward; they will not be saved by the truthfulness of their ministry, but rewarded for its sincerity.  This is certainly true for every calling: you will receive a reward, as Paul writes elsewhere:

Colossians 3:22-25

22  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. Stewardship promises rewards – good or bad, according to your faithfulness.
    1. Stop and reflect for a while on your work. Are you a good worker (or mother, or student, or… – depending on your main daily activity)?  Are you faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to you?  Write your thoughts down.
    2. Ask the Lord how you are doing with what he has entrusted to you. Ask Him about the rewards he has for you.  Write it down.
    3. What can you do to remind yourself daily that your faithfulness at work [your main daily activity] will have eternal consequences – that it will be rewarded eternally?

[This concludes the series on Stewardship]

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Stewardship 15 – time

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship of your time.

Scripture

Psalms 90:1-17 (a prayer of Moses, the man of God)

1  Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3  You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4  For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.  5  You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6  in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

7  For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 8  You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  9  For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.  10  The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11  Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?

12  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 

13  Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  15  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  16  Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. 17  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Observations

Note 1: This song of Moses was most probably written sometime during the wilderness wandering of 40 years, where the Hebrew graves left a trail in the desert until the next generation could enter the Promised Land.

  1. Summarize Moses’ pleas to the Lord in each of the following sections:
    1. Verses 1-2
    2. Verses 3-5
    3. Verses 7-11
    4. Verse 12
    5. Verses 13-17
  2. What does Moses pray in light of the brevity of man’s life and his suffering on earth? (v13-17)
    1. For God’s _______ (v13)
    2. For God’s _______ (v14)
    3. For God’s _______ (v15)
    4. For God’s _______ and _______ (v16)
    5. For God’s _______ and _______ (v17)

Application and Prayer

Life on earth is short and filled with suffering, ending in death.

  1. If – as Moses reckoned – you might live 70 years…
    1. What portion of your years have you spent on earth?
    2. What will you report can you give to God for your time on earth?
    3. What things of eternal value do you still want to do on earth?
  2. Do you procrastinate? Do you waste time in sleeping too much?  Or do you waste relational time in working to much?  Consider how you use the time you have – where can you use it better?
  3. Pray the prayer of Moses, and then commit the rest of your life in service to God:

“12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.   13  Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  15  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.  16  Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. 17  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Stewardship 14 – power and rule

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on stewardship and God’s provision in power and authority.

Scripture

Daniel 4:29-37

29  At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30  and the king said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31  While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32  and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”

33  Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. 34  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

36  At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Observations and reflections

Note: This account chapter 4 follows Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream with the essence ‘repent of your ways, and know that “heaven rules”’ (v27).  At the time this was recorded by Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was a great emperor who ruled many kingdoms in the Middle East and Europe, including Israel. 

  1. From the decree by the “voice from Heaven” (v3-32) what do we learn of God’s providence and power in human lives (as in each of these phrases)?
    1. The kingdom has departed from you”
    2. “you shall be driven from among men”
    3. “your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field”
    4. “you shall be made to eat grass like an ox”
  2. What is the intended lesson from this account?

Application

  1. How does this account challenge your attitude towards the ruler of your country?
  2. Consider your current circumstance – what is entrusted to you, your influence and your authority. How does it feel that God knows where you are at, and that he is the one that has entrusted to you authority and power, your relational influence, where you live and your mental faculty?
    1. How does that influence your perspective on the successes in your life?
    2. How does that influence your perspective on the challenges you face?

Prayer

Pray firstly for the ruler of your country – for grace that He may recognize and serve God in his rules.

Then thank God for the authority, influence and even intelligence you have, and pray that you may serve Him well where you are.  Then bring the challenges you have in prayer to God.

Stewardship 13 – relationships

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship of your relationships.

Scripture

John 17:1-26

1  When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2  since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6  “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7  Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

9  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

13  But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Observations

Note 1: This prayer of Jesus in the night of his arrest is very rich. Today we will study it in terms of Jesus’ stewardship of his disciples, for in this prayer Jesus gives account of his work on earth and prays for his disciples who will remain.

  1. Jesus prays to the Father for his disciples who will remain in the world. Briefly summarize:
    1. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with the Father in this prayer?
    2. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples in this prayer?
    3. What do you learn of Jesus’ relationship with the world in this prayer?
  2. Jesus prayed “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (v4). Let’s consider His work:
    1. What had Jesus taught his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?
    2. What had Jesus done for his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?
    3. What does Jesus pray for his disciples (as seen in this prayer)?

Application and Prayer

A great component of Jesus’ work on earth was the teaching of and modelling for the disciples – his relationship with them.

Jesus gave account to the Father of “those you have given [entrusted] to me.”

  1. Reflect on your relationships and note the key relationships you believe God has entrusted to you, for their benefit and God’s glory.
  2. As is easily seen in marriage and parenting relationships, it is so easy to miss the main goal of the relationship in the business of life. Take a moment in prayerful reflection and write the main purpose God has in assigning these people / these relationships to you.
  3. If you were to give account of these people/ relationships the way Jesus prayed in the text above, what would you say to the Father? Do that now – give an account of the top relationships God entrusted to you and pray for grace to steward these relationships “for His glorious purpose”.
  4. Consider the people you will interact with today – what will you do to glorify God in your interactions?

Stewardship 12 – purpose

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship of your purpose.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 9:1-23

1  Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2  If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3  This is my defense to those who would examine me.

4  Do we not have the right to eat and drink? … 13  Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14  In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15  But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

16  For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  17  For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.

18  What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. 19  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.

20  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Observations and reflections

Note 1:In this chapter defends apostleship, and his right of authority over the churches in Corinth.

  1. Summarize these segments of the Text in your own words to make the argument(s) plain:
    1. Verses 1-3
    2. Verses 4-15
    3. Verses 16-17
    4. Verses 18-19
    5. Verses 20-23
  2. In the center of his argument Paul writes that the preaching of the Gospel “is laid upon me… I am still entrusted with a stewardship.” [v16-17]
    1. When was it “laid up him” or “entrusted to him”? [hint: Acts 9, esp verses 16-17]
    2. Why would he say “woe is me if I preach not the gospel”? Who does he fear, and why? And what “reward’ does he look forward to? [hint: what Day does he refer to…? And why?]
    3. So from these verses, what do we learn about Paul’s view of his Apostleship – in relation to the church and in relation to the Lord?
    4. How did this view of Paul’s Apostleship influence his relationship to the churches? [hint: this chapter reveals a lot of his character and approach to ministry]

Application

Paul was called to be an apostle (“messenger”) to the non-Jews (“Gentiles”) – he was sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 15:9).  He viewed this mandate and grace as an entrustment to him – to steward and to be found faithful when the Lord called him to account on the Day of Judgment. This gave him tremendous confidence in his task, knowing the Lord commanded him to do this.

  1. The following might help you discover your life purpose:
    1. What has the Lord said to you regarding your life and purpose?
    2. What has people (church, family, close friends, mentors) said to you, what you should do? [Consider phrases similar to “you are good in this” / “I can see you doing this” / “you should do this”]
    3. What upsets or excites you most in life?
    4. What do you dream about [that does not lead to your fame]?
    5. What legacy would you love to leave behind one day when you die?
  2. If the Lord were to return now – how would you feel to answer Him regarding the stewardship of your life purpose?

Prayer

Regarding the stewardship of your life purpose, pray in line with these two Text of and by the Shepherd King:  Thank the Lord that He is your Shepherd who leads you in his paths of righteousness, for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:1-3).  And ask him that you may fulfill your purpose in the way David did who only passed away “after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36).  Affirm again to God that your life is his, to serve his purpose – whatever He wants.

Stewardship 11 – more than money

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on stewardship – particularly related to time and your salvation.

Scripture

Note: This conversation happened in the house of Zacchaeus, while Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem.

Luke 19:11-28

11  As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

12  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13  Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

16  The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18  And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19  And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

20  Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21  for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22  He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24  And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’

25  And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26  ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27  But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'”

28  And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

Observations and reflections

Note 1: A mina was about one fourth of the annual income of an agricultural worker in Jesus’ day.

  1. There are deliberate similarity between this parable of the ten minas and the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14-30), but also a few big differences. What are the most obvious difference between these parables. [hint: how many did each person receive…?]
  2. Why did Jesus tell this parable in Zacchaeus house? [verses 11 and 28]
    1. Knowing that he was going to Jerusalem [read: suffering and death], what do you think he could mean in the parable with “A nobleman went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom”? [v12]
    2. And who do you think did Jesus refer to as the “citizens” who “hated him” and did “not want him to rule” over them? [v14]
    3. Then, who would be the “servants” of the nobleman? [v13]
  3. In this parable each of the servants / stewards received one mina. What is the ONE THING each person on earth gets equal for which they must give account to God [hint: tick-tock…]
  4. But there is probably a something else which Jesus meant in the parable with the giving of the ten minas, since the servants of the nobleman-king received the one mina each, and not the citizens.
    1. What is entrusted to “the servants of the nobleman-king” while he is away, that they must “do business with until [he] returns?” [v13]
    2. What is implied with “do business until I return” [v13]/ [hint: what does the “Nobleman-King want multiplied when he returns to reign in His Kingdom”]?

Application and Prayer

  1. Each person on earth receives equal amount of time every day – and we must give account of that to God. Are you a good steward of your time?  Or do you tend to procrastinate or to waste time?
    1. Keep a time sheet of every waking hour today to see what you do with it, and when you go to bed tonight give an account to God of what you did with the time he entrusted to you.
    2. Pray for grace to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
  2. Believers are gifted differently, but what does each believer get entrusted equal from Jesus (the “Nobleman-King” in the parable)? Write your thoughts down.
    1. When the Nobleman-King returns he called each for account in “what they had gained by doing business.” Are you a faithful steward of your salvation testimony? Are you a faithful steward of the saving Gospel of Jesus?  Have your “mina” gained one or two more “minas” for the Lord?
    2. Pray to the Lord for grace to testify of Jesus’ saving grace with boldness. (Acts 4:29)
  3. Make good use of your time and testimony today – who will you invite to church in Sunday?

Stewardship 10 – ownership and responsibility

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on stewardship – particularly regarding ownership and responsibility.

Scripture

Note: Today we consider the life example of Joseph – a faithful steward to three masters.

Genesis 39:1-6

1  Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2  The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.

3  His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4  So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5  From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field. 6  So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate…

Genesis 39:20-23

20  And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21  But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22  And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23  The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Genesis 41:40-44

40  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”  41  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”  42  Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.  43  And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44  Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Observations and reflections

These few verses from the account of Joseph’s enslavement, imprisonment and promotion teach us much about Biblical stewardship.

  1. In each of the three texts identify:
    1. Who was the owner of the property?
    2. Who was responsible for the property?
    3. What was entrusted to Joseph?
    4. Why was Joseph successful? [note God’s part and Joseph’s part in his success]
  2. Reading the stories, there is incredible similarity and deliberate progression. Consider the progress through the three accounts and indicate how [if at all] these factors changed:
    1. Joseph’s environment
    2. Joseph’s role and responsibility
    3. Joseph’s authority
    4. Joseph character.
  3. Looking at these accounts, what are your conclusions on:
    1. stewardship and ownership
    2. stewardship and responsibility
    3. stewardship and authority
    4. stewardship and faithfulness
    5. stewardship and life purpose.

Application

It is clear that the enslavement and imprisonment of Joseph was part of God’s plan for his life, although it was really tough.  But his faithful stewardship and integrity of what was entrusted to him proved his character and paved the way to his ultimate life purpose.

  1. Consider your own life situation and your degree of faithfulness to what is entrusted to you.
    1. Do you see God’s hand in steering of your life? Why / why not?
    2. Do you consider yourself as faithful to steward – to your earthly masters and to God? Why / why not?

Prayer

Pray about your answers and thoughts on this account.  Pray for the grace and favour Joseph had in his stewardship of earthly matters, and ultimately his life purpose.

Stewardship 8 – generosity

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on God’s and faithful provision to us and our generosity to the poor.

Scripture

Psalms 41:1-3

1  Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; 2  the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3  The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,  19  thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Observations and reflections

Note: Today we consider two short passages regarding the stewardship of our possessions in terms of generosity the poor.

  1. Reflect on Psalm 41:1-3.
    1. Summarize the three verses in one short phrase.
    2. List the seven blessings for “the one who considers the poor” – but state it in your own (contemporary) words.
    3. Are these blessings/ benefits of considering the poor in this life, or the life to come?
    4. What do we learn about God and our money in this Text?
  2. Reflect on 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
    1. Briefly summarize these three verses in your own words.
    2. In a table –format, what does this Text teach about what those with money should do / not do with their possessions.
    3. Is the benefits for generous sharing of possessions in this life, or the life to come?
    4. How is God portrayed in this Text?
    5. What does this Text reveal about God’s motive and measure in providing for us?
    6. What do you learn about stewardship in this text? [hint: consider temporal and eternal rewards]

Application

  1. Who is the most generous person you know? Think about that person and see of you can recognize God’s blessings for kindness to the poor in his/ her life.
  2. How do you think and feel about the power the sharing of your earthly money can have in this life as well as the life to come?
  3. How do you feel about the fact that God watches what you do with your money?
  4. Do you think God sees you as someone who “considers the poor” or one who is “rich in good works” and “generous”? Why?  Why not?
  5. What can you “generously share” with a poor person today, that would count as a “good work”? [please be wise! don’t just give to an addict in a way that will further him in his bondage – there are MANY good organizations that have a good track record].

Prayer

Thank God for his generosity and goodness to you.  Pray to God for grace and compassion and wisdom to generously share.  Do you have a stingy heart?  Confess it as sin and ask the Lord for a generous heart.

Stewardship 7 – faithfulness

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on faithful stewardship and the Lord’s rewards.

Scripture

Luke 16:10-13

10  “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  11  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  12  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  13  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Observations and reflections

  1. What is the one word that you would give to summarize Jesus’ teaching in these four verses
    1. In your own words paraphrase each of the four verses as clearly as possible to bring out its meaning.
  2. Each of these four verses give an aspect of faithfulness – identify it (write it down).
    1. Note and identify the progression in the four verses.
    2. Note and identify the promises for faithful stewardship in the four verses.
  3. What do you understand when Jesus promises “true riches” to those who manage “unrighteousness wealth” well?
  4. According to this text, what is the link between stewardship and ownership? And what is the key to ownership?
  5. Who determines when a person has been faithful to what was entrusted to him/ her?

Application and prayer

Faithfulness is a heart issue, and God is very interested in how we manage what is entrusted to us.  We all will give an account of our life to God One Day.

  1. Take paper and {briefly) give account to God in prayer of what you do with what he has entrusted to you over the last week [start now but if you can’t finish now make time over the weekend]:
    1. Money and Possessions
    2. Family and Relationships
    3. Time and opportunities
    4. Work and responsibilities
    5. Your body, soul, spirit
    6. Gifts, including education and specific favor
    7. Mandate / purpose / command / dreams and desires
  2. In what area have you been most faithful with what was entrusted to you? Why do you think so?
  3. In what area have you been least faithful with what was entrusted to you? Why do you think so?
    1. How will you ensure growth towards greater faithfulness in this area. **
  4. Spend some time to ask God to help you grow in faithfulness, so that God may entrust to you ”true riches”.

**Note: I have found that the most effective way to ensure growth in every aspect of my personal and devotional life is through accountability – having formal and informal relationships devoted to call me account for my disciplines, character and relationships in my life.