Just two things.
Amidst the innumerable choices we make every day…
the successes and stumbles…
the routine and the miraculous…
the monotonous and the extraordinary…
the to-dos, should-dos, and ought-tos…
the pressures and needs…
investments and opportunities…
only two things really matter.
Can you do just two things?
I think we can.
And I sort of think we overcomplicate Christ-following when we make it about anything else.
Because when it comes right down to it,
we’re accountable for just two things.
Inhaling divine relationship…
and exhaling faithful stewardship.
Those two broad brushstrokes are all we need to cover our life’s canvas with fulfillment and fruitfulness.
There is nothing in this life that falls outside of those two categories.
The foundation of my life…
my very reason for existence…
is the divine relationship.
The One who created me for that purpose.
The One who sanctifies me for that purpose.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Because if it did, why am I still here? Once I entered into the divine relationship, why wasn’t I whisked away to heaven to enjoy Him face-to-face, away from the trials of this fallen planet called Earth?
It’s because God isn’t finished writing His-story yet. And He still has a role for me (and you). God-given roles will always be accomplished with God-given resources. And so the divine relationship is the impetus behind faithful stewardship of those resources.
I have a dear friend who often speaks of her life’s decisions in terms of stewardship. She talks of wanting to be a good steward of her time…of her resources…of her skills…of her children. When I first noticed this about her, the idea was somewhat foreign to me. To this day, she is one of a very few people I know who makes stewardship a regular part of her vocabulary and an integral part of her Christ-following lifestyle.
Friends, this ought not be so.
If divine relationship is why you and I exist, faithful stewardship is why we’re living where we are, when we are. It’s the idea behind Mordecai’s famous conversation with Esther:
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Mordecai was urging Esther to be a faithful steward of her position, her opportunities, her resources, her relationships. He was pointing out to her the divine origin of those blessings, and her responsibility to use those resources wisely in fulfilling God’s call on her life.
We typically think of stewardship in very narrow terms, don’t we?
But stewardship is about so much more than just money.
Stewardship is about being a faithful manager of blessings.
Jesus teaches a parable in Matthew 25 about stewardship, and indicates that a faithful steward is one who receives blessings and invests them wisely, thereby multiplying them. We learn some valuable lessons from this parable:
God grants blessings as He sees fit. The servants were entrusted with different amounts of money, “to each according to his ability” (v. 15). It’s not my job to compare my blessings with someone else’s, growing envious toward those who have more. And you know what? I don’t even think I’m supposed to feel guilty when I see others with less. My role is to trust in the infinite wisdom of my Master, and be faithful with what He gives me, no matter how much or how little.
The blessings we’re granted aren’t primarily for our own enjoyment. God is the master in this parable, who entrusts his servants with his property until the time of his return. The property always belongs to the master.
In much the same way, God entrusts us with blessings for a season and for a purpose. It’s easy to have a mindset of entitlement during this era of hyper-awareness of our “rights.” Our rights are certainly important, politically speaking; but bearing an entitlement mentality is damaging for a Christ-follower. Because the truth is, every blessing we enjoy is a completely undeserved gift of grace, granted so that our Master can enjoy the fruit of that which He has entrusted to us.
God expects a generous return based on what He grants. One servant earned five talents for his master, while another earned only two — less than half of what the first servant earned. But both received the same accolades from their master upon his return: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (verses 21 and 23). This is because they were both faithful with what they were given. God doesn’t hold us accountable for what we’re given — that’s up to Him, remember? Our role is to invest wisely whatever we’re given; if we do, we can be certain that our Master will be pleased upon His return.
So how do we invest wisely?
God doesn’t want it to be a secret. That’s why the divine relationship is so crucial — it’s impossible to be a faithful steward without one. Because the paintbrush of faithful stewardship can be dipped into a million shades on any particular day for any particular person.
No one can tell you what God wants you to do with your particular God-granted skills, personality, resources, background, opportunities, circumstances and relationships other than God Himself.
Get to know God. Find out what’s important to Him. What makes Him happy? What breaks His heart? What causes does He hold most dear?
Spend time talking to God. Ask Him what He wants you to do.
Let’s stop overthinking it and overcomplicating it, and instead just be faithful with what He’s given us, for such a time as this.
Written by Jennifer Clarke