Part 2 of Competitive Stewardship in a Culture of Consumption
5. A competitive steward hates waste. He seeks to see his hard-earned money again, not here and now, but forever, and compounded by the reward of Christ (2 Cor 5:10, Rv 22:12). In the vault of heaven all treasure is safe and secure. Moth will not eat it, rust will not destroy it, and thieves cannot steal it away (Mt 6:19-21, 1 Pt 1:5). No time sacrifice is required to fix, clean, or maintain it. Positively, a competitive steward sees the examples of Christ and the Apostle Paul to be ones of unselfish giving that is both generous and sacrificial. Just look at the cross (1 Jn 3:16) and the sufferings of the beloved apostle (2 Cor 6:4-11). To be like them, I must aim to give more, which means living with less.
Similarly, a competitive steward sees the thief of excess. The more I have, the more I have to be responsible for. The more I have, the more time out of my already-focused life I will need to take care of it. Ten shirts are better than twenty. If something does not serve me well in my roles in family and in church—to care for those entrusted to me (first locally then globally)--it is in the way. Mass requires orbit; the more I have, the more I have to maintain.
6. A competitive steward lives not for amassing more things for self, but for honoring God through caring well for people. As a competitive steward, I make it my aim to have more friends waiting to welcome me into eternal dwellings (and not less). So, I invest to get the gospel to the nations. As a competitive steward, I want more poor people to have clean drinking water in order to simply live, so I help the poor and needy. I want more people to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want more healthy churches planted and more Great Commission, gospel-forwarding works of missions funded. So, I serve my local church, equipping others for works of ministry and toward growth in maturity.
7. A competitive steward sees the thief of death coming. As sure as night follows day, death will eventually separate me from my earthly things forever (1 Tim 6:6-7). What earthly things do I want to leave behind? Only those things that have served me well in my service to the King and will serve my heirs well in the same mission. This rules out a whole lot of things people belonging to this world clamor for.
In summation, how does God desire us to live? What limit should my lifestyle have in order to prepare people for eternity? Should I, not as one already delivered out (Gal 1:4) of this passing world by King Jesus, be ruled by a godlier ambition in quite the very opposite direction as this world is trending? Should I not see things only with regard to their usefulness in helping me be most useful in my service to the Lord? If they are not useful to this end then of what use are they but for me to feast my eyes on them (Eccl 5:10-15)? And of what use is that since the eye can never be satisfied with seeing (Prv 20:11)?
How about you? Are you being wise with your resources? Do you aim at eternity? Is your stuff serving you in your service to God or are you serving your stuff? Are you preparing others for eternity and helping them get there? Are your material assets serving you in your mission for God or are some of them in the way? If you are over-consuming, what does God want you to do right now (2 Cor 5:7-10)?
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