Everyone who uses the word “stewardship” assumes the inclusion of financial responsibility, but what else does God expect us to steward well? Does He care how we spend our time? And surely He knows that we are busy people; maybe too busy to keep a clean home. What does keeping a clean home have to do with stewardship, anyway?
It started with finances for us, but the Lord has taught us so much about the wide arena we call “stewardship” that I cannot help but think about the word differently now than I have for most of my life. Yes – we should absolutely steward our finances well, and live within our means no matter what those limits are. We will discuss here on Biblical Womanhood some suggestions and ideas on doing exactly that. But stewardship includes so much more!
Let’s start here, shall we? Everyone knows the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30 which is generally taken to be describing money. (“Talents” were coins in the culture from which this was written. It’s interesting, though – as a side note, to read it with our culture’s current definition of the word “talent.” Who among us has buried the things we do well – our gifts, our talents – in the ground? But that’s a blog for another day!) The one who was given more doubled his money, as did the one who was given “some.” The one who was given little buried his and was chastised for it.
We will often quote from Luke 12:48 –
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required
We will look at that passage more closely in a moment, but you see my point. It’s true that the Lord expects us to take care of our finances. He expects us to live up to our obligations, pay our debts as quickly and fully as possible, and to live within our means – without borrowing from anyone (or any time, such as our own future). He grants us plenty of “how-to” type work-arounds for times when that’s just not possible, but it’s His standard.
Some of the ways I try to do those things include not using credit cards, paying bills on time, paying bills and obligations before we pay for anything else, shopping only at below retail cost including acquiring many things used, and simply not accumulating debt or obligation that we don’t need (like subscription television). First and foremost comes the tithe, but that’s yet another post for a different day.
Frugality is the word! Part of stewardship of our finances includes stewardship of our stuff. While that also falls under home management (below), I think it fits best here. We’ve taken on more of a minimalism mindset; not as drastic as that word often implies, for sure, but definitely the not needing of comforts many people feel are necessary. When you do with less, you have more financial resources to spend towards furthering God’s Kingdom.
Stewardship of Our Time
God expects us to steward our time just as much as He does our money. Let’s look back at the passage from Luke 12. Yes! Let’s look at that passage, shall we? Click the link above, and then click to see the whole chapter. You can switch to any translation you’d like on the BibleGateway website.
Start reading in verse 35. This passage isn’t talking about money! Luke 12:42 says that the faithful and sensible steward gives the servants their rations at the proper time. This is a prophetic passage about being ready for the return of Christ, but it also speaks practically to not wasting time. This is a passage to use with our children, when they are dawdling about getting things done! (In fact, I think I’ll talk to my own kids about this tomorrow! Glad I thought of that!)
At one point in time, a time when I wasn’t bringing in any money at all towards our family finances, I was being very convicted in the area of tithing. But, I didn’t want to be the nagging wife, and my husband wasn’t there yet in his spiritual walk. I wanted to be faithful, but I had even less than the widow with the mite. The Lord spoke to me in this: if I couldn’t tithe money, I should tithe what I have.
At that season in my life, all I had was time. I took the amount of time I was awake each day, and made every effort to spend 10% of it with the Lord. Some of that was reading my Bible, or praising; some was actual study. It looked different every day. And the Lord let me grow out of that, but it’s still in my mind today. It taught me much. It taught me stewardship of my time, and gave me a heart to move towards righteousness in that area.
Stewardship in the Home
Home keeping is stewardship. House work is stewardship. God gives us a standard (don’t worry – we’ll get there!), and He expects us to take just as good of care of our homes as we do with our money. Let’s look again at the passage from Luke 12. If you look up the Strong’s reference for the word “steward” from verse 42, this is the definition (via eSword, a fantastic reference tool):
a house distributor (that is, manager), or overseer, that is, an employee in that capacity; by extension a fiscal agent (treasurer); figuratively a preacher (of the Gospel): – chamberlain, governor, steward.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The faithful and sensible steward is a… house… manager?? Really?? That’s what the Word says!
So what does God expect? Well, soon we will look up what God’s standard is. It brought severe and quick conviction to me in this area, and I’d be amiss to not share that with you. But for now, let’s suffice it to say that the Lord expects us to manage and oversee our homes. He expects us to be fiscal, and to govern the affairs of our household. That’s beginning to sound like another familiar scripture, isn’t it? It’s not just part of some ideal that we can never reach. It’s part of who God expects us to be as Christian women. It’s time we owned that and made an effort towards it. (It’s okay. No one started much further away than I did. The Bible says that if we move towards Him, He will move towards us. You know what that does? It makes the journey there shorter than it looks.)
I don’t have it all figured out, y’all. We still struggle financially, at least in season and out. I really have issues with time management, and it seems that no matter how well I plan, something still goes awry. I certainly don’t have control over my home (just ask hubby), though I’ve come a long way in that department. But this blog is about my journey – past and present – towards God’s will for me in those areas. I’ll share what I’ve learned, and share my current struggles.