I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” –Psalm 16:2
It seems that during the Christmas season, needs present themselves in a more apparent way than throughout most of the year. Or maybe we’re just more attuned to them. Probably some of both. With coat drives, food pantries, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Operation Christmas Child, the Salvation Army ringers, and the countless other worthy charities out there, it’s almost a relief when the season is over and we can go back to being a little less attuned to these needs.
One of the reasons all these needs seem so overwhelming is that it seems like no matter how much we give, there’s always someone we’re not helping. And that’s because there always is someone we’re not helping. But what should be our response to this as Christians? Try to hide from the needs around us? Spend our time feeling overwhelmed and inadequate as we try to meet every need we see? Neither of these seems right. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be looking at being good stewards and prayerful volunteers. In an attempt to better understand what God wants from us in these areas, we’ll start with the 1 Chronicles and Psalm verses above.
The point of these verses (for the purposes of this discussion, anyway) is two-fold. The first we’ll get to this week. The other we’ll tackle next week.
The first point is to start acknowledging (or to continue acknowledging) that everything we have — everything — comes from God.
Every dollar, every can of food, every scrap of clothing, every car, every minute of our time, every piece of toilet paper or paper towel, every ounce of laundry soap, every hair product, every book, every electronic gadget, every loved one, every academic degree, every talent, every toy, every shoe, every DVD, and every game is a gift from God – and belongs to God. We’re merely the managers of these things. We’re not the owners.
This can be a freeing thought. If we’re just managers, then our job isn’t to hold on as tightly as possible to “our stuff.” Instead, our job is to care for God’s stuff (tangible and intangible) in a way that is pleasing to its Owner. Our focus should not be on how to best use God’s gifts to serve our own needs and desires, but how to best use them for God’s glory and God’s kingdom.
A lovely couple I know put this into action in an interesting way several years ago. They didn’t have children yet, so they picked boys up from a local boys’ home and drove them to church, took them on outings, etc. As this couple put it, they had an empty backseat — which they were hoping not to have too much longer. While they had it, though, they wanted to use it to glorify God. A backseat. Not something we usually think of as belonging to God. But it does.
Consider: What do you have that you don’t usually think of as “belonging to God?” How might you use it for His glory?
Today, I’d encourage you to take an inventory of the things God has entrusted you to manage. The list above can help you get started. It isn’t necessary to write down every individual thing (unless you feel God leading you to) – broader categories should work just fine.
Then, spend some time thinking about — and maybe writing down (if that helps you) — how you most often use those things. Are most of the things God’s given you to manage used to serve yourself or to serve God and others?
As you go through your week, add things that you notice to your lists. What do you discover during your week that you hadn’t thought of as belonging to God? What thing(s) were you surprised to realize you use in a primarily self-serving way? Or, on the other hand, where were you pleased to see you’re doing well in using some of God’s resources to serve Him and others?
As you make your lists and as you go through your week, pray and ask God if there are any changes He’d like you to make in the way you use the stuff He’s given you to manage (the visible and invisible). How could God use the things He’s given to you to manage for Him to make an even bigger impact on your relationship with Him and your relationships with the people around you?
Please feel free to share lists or ideas below!
Next week we’ll look at the Superwoman Complex!
Want to read more?
Are you a worrier? Then you might enjoy Monday’s Post: (becoming) less of a worrier
Interested in discussions about how to be a godly wife? Check out the Wife Series: (becoming) a more godly wife: why won’t he . . . . . . ?
Want to go deeper in your walk with Christ? Click here for the start of the Fully Submitted Series: (becoming) fully submitted
Still basking in the glow of the Christmas season? Click here for the start of the Christmas Posts: (becoming) peaceful