Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t make us perfect or morally superior to those around us, but following Jesus does change our perspective on all of life. One of the changes that Jesus desires to make in us is to help us recognize that we are “stewards” and not “owners.” An “owner” has the right to do what he or she wishes with what they possess. A “steward” on the other hand owns nothing, but manages for another. We are stewards because who we are and everything we have is a gift from God. Let me give you an example.
At the end of 1 Chronicles, King David had watched the people give so generously to the future construction project of the temple. David was in awe. The people had gone above and beyond anything that David could have ever imagined. After watching the people give and give David turned his thoughts toward God instead of calling all of the people together to praise them, give an award for the “biggest giver,” or pat the people on the back. Listen to his prayer.
14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. (1 Chronicles 29:14 NIV)
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” Wow! Before I began following Jesus my every thought was about me. “What do I want? What do I want to do? What do I think?” The change in my thoughts didn’t come instantaneously. I don’t want to lead you to think that I no longer consider those self-centered thoughts either. The difference in me now is this: Now I know the truth. Paul put the truth this way when he wrote to the folks in Corinth: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”
My life is not my own. My money is not my own. My time is not my own. My abilities are not my own. Everything about me is a gift from His hand and is to be used for His glory and the blessing of His people. I’m a steward. Paul said,
7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)
In a world that is consumed with “me” and “mine,” it is so freeing to focus on “He” and “His.” He has given me life. He has saved me. He has gifted me with abilities and financial means to provide not just for my family, but for others as well. His will is my aim. His glory is my goal. His Kingdom is of preeminent importance.
1 Chronicles 29:14