Don and I were good friends. One evening after a group Bible study, while we were heading to our rooms, Don narrated to me a story. The story kept ringing in my mind for the rest of the semester. He started out in the conversation in the warm breeze of the night. “One day, a man decided to go on a journey. He had three servants, and before he left, he called his three servants to entrust them with his wealth. To his first servant, he gave him five bags of gold; to the second, two bags. To the third, he gave him one bag of gold. He then set off for the journey. At once, the first servant, who received the five bags, went and put the five bags into work and soon. He had gained five extra bags of gold. The second servant as well utilized the two bags and gained two more bags. Interestingly, the third servant went up, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his bag of gold. Long afterward, their Master returned and settled each account of the servants.
The first servant brought his extra five bags, saying, ‘Master, you gave me five bags; I gained five more.’ The Master replied, ‘well done, faithful servant, you have been so faithful, come and share my happiness.’ The second one the same thing; he shared happiness with his Master for being faithful. The third servant came; it was his turn to give an account of what he did. he said, ‘Master, I knew you are a hard man, harvesting where you haven’t sown and gathering where you have not scattered seeds. So, I was afraid and hid your money in a hole. Get it, here it is.’ Angrily, the Master took away the bag and gave it to his first servant, who had gained five more. The servant was soon afterward cast out in the deep darkness, a place of much sorrow and weeping.” What does it mean? What is the relevance of the story? I kept on asking him. Don calmly responded, go and evaluate yourself in line with that story. But… And he was gone! It took me a few moments to realize that Don was referring me to Matthew 25: 14- 30. The parable of the Bags of Gold.
Stewardship is an important concept that should be not only understood but put into practice as well. Christian financial stewardship refers to the responsibility that Christians have in maintaining; using wisely the financial gifts that God has bestowed upon them.
Putting it together, the point of God’s sovereignty stands out. God is the sole provider and owner of everything we have, including our own self. We are not of our own. We should always come to acknowledge God’s providence since He remains to be Yahweh in and out of every season. God is the provider.
Having established and acknowledged the place of God, it’s always a good thing to give back to Him faithfully in our tithes and offerings. Why should we rob Him? (Malachi 3: 10). God is always faithful to provide, so should we be faithful to give back to him cheerfully from our hearts. However, in our giving, let’s also give our lives and hearts to God. He is more interested in hearts. God knows us, every aspect of our lives, he knows, he knows our abilities and limits. It is the vanity of vanity without God in our all.
Financial stewardship is not limited to the management of our financial gifts but as well as how we acquire them. As believers, integrity in whatever we do is key, it’s a standard. Our sources of wealth and income should uphold integrity since we are called to live holy and righteous lives by Him who chose and redeemed us.
Faithfulness in the Providence
Faithful Christians, how do you manage the financial gifts given to you? I presume my friend Don had realized my ill behavior of how I used to handle my finances on campus. In the above parable, we learn the aspect of work. The first servant was able to get five more bags of gold. This was through faith in action.
God promises to provide for his children, but we should not sit back and relax, waiting for God to provide. It is in that job, business, investment, or skill that God will see us through. God will always reward our efforts. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion. God loves cheerful giving. This calls us for practicability and endurance.
We should be wise stewards, handling and managing whatever God has given us. It impeccably is evident in the passage that all the servants were given something to work on, bags of gold. But in the end, they had different results. Similarly, it’s not the amount that matters most, but how you handle that entrusted to you. God has already blessed us and given us dominion over all creation- Genesis 1:28 – “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In conclusion, all that we do should be for God’s glory. As we help the disadvantaged, as we support ministries with our funds, as we handle our gifts, let us do as if we are doing it for God. It’s all about him and him alone. Let us seek more knowledge in line with God’s word and with prayer and commitment. We will all develop a positive character, setting a good example to everyone in all aspects, including financial stewardship. Will, you set an example? 1 Timothy 4:12, NIV: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and purity.” May the Lord guide and transform us. AMEN!