Another way we can honor God through our work is by being good stewards. This applies to our personal finances as well, so we’ll be looking at it in more depth when we talk about stewardship. However, the concept of stewardship has strong implications for our work lives as well – whether self-employed or working for someone else.
Proverbs provides good advice for any person involved in business, but especially those involved in managing or overseeing the operations:
23 Know well the state of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds: 24 for riches are not forever, nor does even the crown endure to all generations.
Proverbs 27:23-24 (WEB)
A good manager knows the condition of every aspect of the business he manages. Whether it’s your own business or someone else’s, you should be careful to pay attention to what’s going on. Being a good steward doesn’t mean you do just enough to get by. A good steward looks to maximize whatever has been put under his care – he wants to return it to his superior in a better condition than he found it. Being especially careful with things that belong to others in addition to our own things provides a strong witness that we care about the person those things belong to.
Be Faithful in All Things
Jesus challenged us to be faithful in all things whether great or small. His teaching can apply to our business lives, our personal lives, and most definitely our spiritual lives.
10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
Luke 16:10-12 (WEB)
In anything that is assigned to us, we should be honest and faithful regardless of how unimportant it may seem. We build trust with others by first proving ourselves trustworthy with small and seemingly insignificant things. Then we begin to build a stronger relationship and deeper trust as bigger and more important responsibilities are given to us. While those small things do not seem like they matter at first, how we handle them can have huge implications for our future relationships.
Jesus’ teaching here applies to many different aspects of our lives – not just business – and most specifically it applies to our spiritual lives. Jesus goes on to talk about how we cannot serve both God and money. The way Jesus taught us to handle the money and possessions God has entrusted to us is vastly different from the ways of the world. Jesus teaches us here that if we cannot handle something so unrighteous as money according to His teaching, how can we expect God to give us true riches? We must prove to be faithful in the small things (money) in order to receive the greater things (the true riches of Heaven and eternal life).
As we continue to examine God’s Provident Plan for our finances, we’ll see that He calls us to approach money and possessions with a mindset the world cannot understand. You see, the financial advice God gives us in the Bible can be applied successfully by anyone. Spend less than you earn, earn more, manage your money well, avoid debt – all of these ideas are good advice for Christians and non-Christians alike. But the results God desires – generous and sacrificial giving – are far different from the worldly views of retiring early, getting the car you’ve always dreamed of, living in a nicer home, traveling the world, or just doing anything you “deserve” because of your hard work and smart decisions. Following God’s plans to achieve His desire requires that you understand His plan and His view of the world and that you have a relationship with His Son, Jesus. You will never understand the idea of following God’s financial principles so you can give generously unless His Spirit lives in you.
However, the rewards are vastly different as well. Instead of amassing worldly wealth that will pass away and do you absolutely no good when you die, you’ll inherit eternal life and true riches. You’ll take hold of that which is truly life and enjoy God’s creation as He meant you to. You’ll find the contentment in Christ that no one can take away from you. And that’s worth much more than any pile of cash you can put in the bank.
I’ve gotten away from the main point here, but it’s important to understand what it really means to be a good steward and why we should even worry about how Jesus taught us to handle our finances. God wants us to handle money as if it doesn’t matter. He wants us to use it not to just make ourselves comfortable but to further His Kingdom. And that mindset of living sacrificially will lead us to follow all of His teaching on personal finances naturally. With His Spirit living in us, we will approach our spending and working with His love and understanding. And we’ll glorify Him with all of it.
Next week we’ll finish up this study on work, and then I’ll put together a summary post for easy reference.