The Stewardship of Life
By Dr. Richard D. Dobbins
A steward is the guardian or manager of another’s possession. So when we talk about the stewardship of life, this infers that our life belongs to another, and we are taking care of it for Him.
Unlike the secular view of life, which is that every person’s life belongs to him or her, we are acknowledging that life belongs to God. He created us (Genesis 2:7). And, when we willfully disobeyed Him, He redeemed us, or bought us back for His own (11 Peter 1:18-19).
Being a Good Steward of Your Life
Since our lives belong to Him and are far more valuable than the money we amass or the things we own, we want to take good care of our lives for Him. We know that we are not our own. We have been bought with a price, so we want to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits because we know that these belong to Him (1 Corinthians 8:19,20).
And we know that someday we must stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account to Him of what we have done with this precious gift of life He has extended to us (2 Corinthians 5:10). This is a very difficult concept for some Christians to understand. Does this mean we will have to give account for our sins? No! The judgment of our works has nothing to do with our sins. The death of Christ satisfied God’s judgment of our sins. The Judgment Seat of Christ has to do with the carefulness or the carelessness of our stewardship of life.
Being a Good Steward of Your Body
There is an old cartoon of a shriveled-up old man looking in a mirror and the caption says, “If I had known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of my body.” Paul reminds us that our bodies are not ours; they belong to the Lord and we are to express His presence through them in order to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 8:19,20).
Look at the way many Christians treat their bodies. All you need to do is go to a buffet after church on Sunday and see the heaviest people there. It seems like food is the one substance that Christians feel they can abuse with God’s permission (eventhough the Bible puts the glutton in the same category as the drunkard: Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 23:21).
Here are some ways we can be good stewards of our bodies for God:
1. Make sure that our bodies are nutritiously fed. Food is the physical source of the body’s energy. So we should provide our bodies with a balanced and adequate diet We should not malnourish our bodies. Nor should we overfeed the body and burden it with obesity. Proper nutrition means plenty of good water, too, since science tells us our bodies are about 80 percent water.
2. We should give our bodies healthy exercise. There is no guarantee that exercise will add years to your life. But there is no doubt that physical exercise improves the quality of life we have. Simply walking for a half hour, four or five times a week, will make a big difference in your energy level.
3. You should expose your body regularly to the presence of God. Your body is His temple. Spend time in God’s Word every day. Talk to God, spend time telling Him the things you want to share about your life, then spend part of your time listening to Him as He shares with you what He wants you to know about His will for your life.
Being a Good Steward of Your Gifts
God has given all His children gifts for serving Him and others. Some people get very shy and self-conscious when you suggest that they have any gifts, but God has gifted all of His children. He does not have any children without gifts.
Paul cautions us not to assume that we have gifts that we do not. We are to discover the gifts God has given us, develop them, and use them in service to God and man (Romans 12:1-8). These remarkable gifts from God not only equip us to serve, but they equip us for earning a living. The person who has the gift of exhortation, for example, is equipped to be an excellent salesman. The teaching gift obviously lends itself to preparing people for teaching occupations. So it becomes wonderful to know your gift and the vocational expression of it and not try to do what God has not gifted you to do.
Paul says there is a very practical way to find your giftedness: “Prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). God knows we are more productive when we enjoy what we do, and He also knows that it is hard to enjoy what we do if we do not have the ability to do it. So He gifts us in areas where He calls us. When we are responsive to His call, and exercise those gifts, we enjoy what we are doing and our lives are productive for Him.
Being a Good Steward of Your Time
We all have the same 168 hours per week available to us. In Ephesians 5:15,16, Paul tells us we should value our time and “redeem'” it, that is, buy it back from our enemy the devil and use our time and energy wisely for God. Once time is gone, it is gone. You spend time on one activity and then discover that it is not available to invest in another activity.
I recommend you use a “to do” list every day of the week. Be sure you take time for devotions and, if you are married, set aside time for your spouse every day. These should be the most carefully guarded times, for your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse are the two energy-producing relationships in your life.
The relationship you have with God, your relationship with your spouse, and if you have children your relationship with them – these are the three biggest priorities in your life. Once you have made your list, and included these items for sure, put a “V” to the left of each activity you consider to be vital to your day. Then go through the list again and put an “I” in front of those things that are not vital but are very important. Next, prioritize the V’s by numbering them and prioritize the I’s by numbering them. Once you get through the vital list, start on the important list.
We have a limited amount of time and energy and God wants us to see that we will give account for how we use our lifetime. God wants us to put first those things that enable us to lay up treasures in heaven (see Matthew 6:20,21,33).
Being a Good Steward of Your Money
Money is another of those limited commodities in life. Because of this, it is easy to make an idol out of money. This is why Jesus made it clear we cannot serve God and money (see Matthew 6:24). Certainly money is important and it can do a lot of good things, but it is only a medium of exchange. It is a symbol representing so much of your time and energy which you have exchanged for it.
Here are some important ways you can manage your money wisely:
1. Try to limit credit buying to what you can pay off monthly. There are many people who want to get their hands on your money, and they are skilled at making offers you do not think you can live without. You need to build up your sales resistance. That is the only way you can be a good steward of your money in our society.
2. God should have His 10 percent right off the top. This recognizes Him as the Lord of your life. You belong to Him. You would be surprised at the number of Christians who pay more in credit card interest each month than their tithe would be, and then have the nerve to complain they cannot afford to tithe.
3. You need to put at least 10 percent of your income into savings. When you are young some of this money may be wisely invested in a good insurance program. Remember the wise counsel of Jesus: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Article “The Stewardsip of Life” excepted from “Guidelines for Good Living”. Article written by Dr. Richard D. Dobbins.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”