here for Part 1
“Honor the LORD
with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all
thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with
plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine”
(Proverbs 3:9, 10).
After his awesome
experience of the vision of the ladder reaching into
heaven as he fled for his life from his brother Esau,
Jacob was so moved by it that he dedicated the stone on
which his head rested that night to the Lord as a
memorial. He said, “And this stone, which I have set
for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that
thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto
thee” (Genesis 28:22). Notice that the pledge was all
inclusive—“all” that the Lord would give him, would be
subject to the tenth-rule. That would be God’s part.
We have a
tendency to consider only financial resources as subject
to the tenth-rule of tithes, but Jacob took it further
and included everything that God would give him.
Sometimes it is easier to give our money that it is to
give ourselves. But, guess what! “Ourselves” is
exactly what God wants. When He has us, He has control
over all we have and all we are.
Probably next in
line after how we handle our finances as good stewards
is the stewardship of our time. How precious it is!
Like a stubborn two-year-old, we proclaim our time is
our own, and we will do what we choose with it—and often
do just that. It’s a busy world we live in, and the
allocation of time to life’s demands can be stressful
and daunting. At times, just surviving can be a major
problem. But, you know, there are still twenty-four
hours in a day as always has been.
I look back in
wonder and amazement at how my parents managed all they
did and still spend so much time in the Lord’s work. To
begin with, there were five children, and the youngest
ones came as a “pair.” We had a family business where
both parents worked. As the oldest, I did some
babysitting, and we had hired help sometimes at home,
but my parents were just an arm’s reach away. Our lives
really revolved around our church. Both parents held
church positions and were both very involved and active
in the church and community. I recall that my mother
was always available and present at the birth of
neighbors' babies when doctors made house calls and
delivered babies at home.
We hosted state
and national visiting ministers and church officials and
evangelists. Jimmy Dickens’ “Sleeping at the Foot of
the Bed” was applicable in our home to make bedroom for
visitors, except it was a featherbed on the floor while
a minister and/or his family slept in our beds. It just
seemed to be the right thing to do. In fact, it was
We still had time
for long Sunday afternoon drives with a picnic basket
(and watermelon in season) and always time to chat with
the neighbors and help out where needed. I played an
instrument in my high school band, and Daddy drove me
and my friends to the basketball games and stayed to
watch until they was over.
You see, when we
give our priority time to God, He just makes the rest of
the time—like our money—expand and go farther.
King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question
is ‘What are we doing for others?’ “
“The high destiny
of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”
Jesus set the
example for us: He didn’t come to be ministered to, but
God is looking
for those who can be rich without being greedy or
selfish, giving him glory for their success. He is
looking for the poor who can be useful citizens in His
Kingdom without being anxious and covetous of the more
We are all
endowed with talents and abilities that God intended for
his purposes. It isn’t difficult to know what they
are. God instills desire and puts opportunity before
us, and we choose whether to use them in selfish, sinful
ways or for the glory of God to be multiplied and honed
to perfection for the Kingdom’s work.
preaching, teaching, writing, musical and other talents
and abilities do not come verbatim. We are given a
means of conveyance, our own vocabulary, style and
emphasis to express the inspiration. We operate within
our own “vehicle” to express what God has inspired us
with, but the message is the same and in agreement with
God’s Word when He is the source. The message our
various talents present will agree with others inspired
by the same Holy Spirit.
It is our
responsibility to “study to show ourselves approved” in
the knowledge of the Truth. While our styles vary and
our expertise may be at different levels, the essence of
the message will always point toward Jesus Christ and
What a great
responsibility teachers (and parents) have as mentors! They hold the destiny of
many of their students in their hands by their words and
their actions. Teachers can browbeat the ones who don’t
progress as well or as fast as they think they should,
creating self-defeating adults; and give their attention
to the brightest, fastest learners. Or they can look
deeply into the ones struggling and find something there
for them to aim toward, some latent talent that no one
has yet noticed. They can balance their time and
efforts toward all in their care and watch them develop
into talented human beings.
God doesn’t make mistakes!
We are all endowed with certain specialties and talents,
and the wise instructor can harvest that for success in
the lives of those in their watch. This is true in the
educational system, the home, in business and in the church as well. May we
never set aside any child/person as un-teachable! May none be
lost in the shuffle because they are shy or less than
perfect or even difficult. “Suffer the little children”
to come to Jesus! Of such is His kingdom.
be role models who disciple those in their charge by
example to become like them. A 'student' will echo what
he is taught and will eventually become what his lessons
instill in him. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches? We
are disciples of Christ, and we become more like Him as
we learn how He is and acquire His likeness.
“Till we all come
in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
resources may be, we are responsible to be diligent
stewards and use them to honor God, promoting the Gospel. There
is no such thing as insignificance in God’s family.
Every member is important and has a place and
responsibility to achieve their goals to the best of
their ability in the Kingdom.
We can’t judge
who is greater or lesser; that’s God’s job, not ours.
So we have mutual respect and support as we work
together for the Lord, not vying for pre-eminence or
worrying about who gets the credit.
“If Christ were
coming again tomorrow, I would plant a tree today.”
of blessings has a lock, but we have the key! The
keyhole is in the shape of obedience. The obedience-shaped key unlocks unrestricted blessings beyond our
imagination. God may have to enlarge our ability to
receive when we are bestowed with His abundance.
It’s a paradox,
but true: We give to receive; we divide to add
blessings to our lives. We empty ourselves in order to
be filled with God. If our pockets are full of
ourselves, there is no room for anyone else, and we will
miss the wonderful things God wants to dispense to us
with His “shovel” of Grace.
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven
and returned not thither, but watereth the earth, and
maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed
to the sower and bread to the eater" [emphasis
mine] (Isaiah 55:10).
Did you notice that? Seed is given to the one who
sows it, not to the one who hoards it. Bread is
given to the one who utilizes it, not to the one who
stashes it away. Surely that must tell us that we
are to be good stewards of whatever God endows us wih!
He is the supplier; we are His stewards; let us be
faithful in everything and look toward the promised
includes our service as well as our tithes, gifts and
offerings. We must not give God the leftovers, like
table scraps after we have filled ourselves with the
choice helpings. He gave us the best He had. How could
we do less than our best for Him?
God owns the
cattle on a thousand hills. He said the silver and gold
were His. Because they are His and I am His heir, they
If we honor God,
put Him first in all things, He will release blessings
that we will be unable to receive until He increases our
capacity. God doesn’t want us to “just make it in”; He
wants us to march into heaven victoriously,
expectantly. He has rewards for those who are wise
stewards and teach others to reach and reach until their
full potential is abundant and overflowing.
God in your life; be a good steward yourself and teacher others
by example. The results will live on into eternity!
"...a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the
things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:16). Read the
parable of "a certain rich man" (Luke 12:16-20).
Jesus concluded the story with this: "So is he
that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich
toward God" (v 21). Jesus desires that we have a
well balanced life in all areas. This will be
effective in understanding God's view and release
blessings that He wants to pour into our lives.
Let us use our
to open the door of blessings for us with an overflow to
"Thou who hast given me so much give me one more
thing--a grateful heart."
--George Herbert, English Poet (4/3/1593 - 3/1/1633)