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Monday, 24 March 2014

Guest Post by Erudina: The Meaning of Stewardship

Front view of Dios Es Mi Paz church, after the service
Erudina is an elder at Dios Es Mi Paz (“God is my peace”) church.  She has a Master’s Degree in Education and serves as the principal of a public high school in Santo Domingo.  She is a widow with three children; she has experience with community development and youth work. Erudina prepared and delivered this message on January 26, 2014 in Spanish. This post is based on notes I took from Pastor Mario’s phrase-by-phrase translation into English.

   Stewardship is a universal principle, but it is even more relevant for believers.  The Greek word for stewardship is oikos, which means “household” or “disposition to care for a household,” and “one who is in charge.”  Christian stewardship is watching over God’s belongings.  We are heirs in Christ of all God’s belongings.  In our lives we are stewards of the following:
  • money
  • physical and mental health
  • work
  • entertainment
  • time
  • skills
  • spiritual gifts
   Stewardship is a very wide topic, but we will focus on one aspect—skills and abilities.  There is a variation in the amount of skills people have.  Some think it has to do with our IQ, but skills go beyond that.  God gives us each talent that we have.  The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14 –30 teaches that the quality of our service is how we use our skills and abilities.  According to Scripture, everyone has some skills.  We are born with natural skills through our genes, but our upbringing affects the development of our skills.  As we grow up we may barely notice our skills due to our external conditions.  When we develop our skills (through education and experience), we expect to be compensated for that, but whether paid or not we are to use these skills for service.
   Some special skills are given to do special work that God want us to do.  In Exodus 4:10-17 Moses protests his inabilities, while God emphasizes His own power.  Sometimes, like Moses, we think we don’t fill the shoes or fit the requirements.  But God will give us what we need.
   I Corinthians 12 mentions gifts of the Holy Spirit.  They are supernatural gifts to expand the church and spread the gospel.  Some people do not have much formal education, like Peter and John, but they can do wonderful things through the Holy Spirit.
   Sometimes we are tempted to bury our talents, but we should not give in to these temptations. We need to use these gifts in the church.  We can discern God’s will through the Holy Spirit, reading His word, seeking advice from brothers and sisters in Christ, pastors and leaders.
   We need to avoid selfish desires and any sins so that we can use our gifts.  Open your eyes to the opportunities.  How can we help those who are in need of healing, encouragement and care?  We are called to shine in our community as true representatives of Christ:
·        Being faithful in daily life, getting rid of pride and selfishness
·        Do what’s right without being conscious of it
Don’t waste your talents and gifts by getting involved in sinful activities.  This can happen when we use our skills to accumulate wealth.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).  We need to follow God’s lead.  When we waste our skills we lose out.
   Our work will be revealed by fire, as it says in I Corinthians 3:10-15.  Let’s use our skills to build things that will last and are worthwhile.  Some problems in the church are the result of wasting gifts.  Some examples are:
  • seeking compensation and advancement in careers rather than service
  • seeking spectacular gifts without having victory over sin in our lives
  • false worship that is actually religious entertainment

   The parable of the talents shows that the one who had five talents multiplied them to become ten talents.  When we develop stewardship in our lives, it will help us grow in Christ.  Then we will hear these words at the end, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter the joy of your Lord.”

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