For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. Philippians 1:21-25
Growing up I had frequent ear infections. I was always on one or another antibiotic. But the biggest obstacle to overcome was the awful taste of that medicine. Yuck! My mother used to tell me as she pushed that vile liquid in my mouth, “the worse it tastes, the better it is for you!” Have you ever heard that one before? It seemed logical at the time. Cakes, cherry coke, ice cream, candy, all of them taste good, all of them bad for you. On the other side, carrots, brussel sprouts, and beets (especially beets!) all taste terrible but are supposed to be good for you. And even today some of the worst things to swallow are really doing us the most good. Right now my bitter medicine involves tearing off my pride as I gain a better understanding of stewardship.
The big idea that came out of my stewardship study is if we are going to be of any use to the kingdom of God, we have to have a correct view of stewardship. This starts be remembering what a steward is. A steward is a servant who works on behalf of someone else. If we are serving the Kingdom of God for our own interest, we will only end in ruin. It means we have a misguided sense of ownership and are seeking to usurp that which is God’s. We are not OWNERS of anything. Whatever we think we have, we don’t. It all still belongs to God. It is merely ENTRUSTED to us for the time being. And all God has entrusted to us is for the furtherance of His kingdom. For a day is approaching us all where what has been entrusted to us will be reclaimed by God. Then we will give an account of how we utilized God’s gifts to further His interests. Now if you would like to eat of slice of humble pie next to me, here are some examples:
Your spouse is not yours. He/She is God’s on loan to you.
Your children are not yours. They are God’s on loan to you.
Your brothers and sisters in Christ are not yours. They are God’s on loan to you.
Your money is not yours. It is God’s on loan to you.
Your possessions are not yours. They are God’s on loan to you.
Your time is not yours. It is God’s on loan to you.
Your talents and abilities are not yours. They are God’s on loan to you.
Your physical body is not yours. It is God’s on loan to you.
Your spiritual gifts are not yours. It is God’s on loan to you.
Your ministry is not yours. It is God’s on loan to you.