I've been mulling over a lot of things in the past few days. One that keeps coming to mind is stewardship. The actual definition is "the management or care of something . . . "
I've stated before that being a parent has made me more aware and understanding of God's hear than anything else in life. And it is true in this respect also.
I have given my kids tasks around the house to take care of. As each kid proves that they can handle certain tasks, they prove they can take on more difficult tasks. To them, this may seem negative at times. To me, it proves they are maturing and growing.
The kids like this theory in other areas of life for sure. Maybe we run in to town and I don't feel like getting out of the car, so I give a child a 5 dollar bill and some carte blanch in the store to get chips for dinner and bring me the change. If the child comes out with a small bag of chips, then they have proven that they don't understand what I was asking them. If it is a side for dinner, then we would need a full size bag. If the child adds to the order and brings out a candy bar with the chips, then they have proved that were being selfish and spending the money on the things that weren't necessary. If the child brings out the change and doesn't give me my change, then we also have a problem.
If the child comes out with the chips and give me the change, then they have done well. But if the child comes out having found chips on sale and gives me more change back then I was expecting; then they have gone above and beyond what was asked of them. And the next time I need to go to the store and let a child run inside for me, I will remember what choices they made on this trip to take care of my money and the orders they were given.
The Bible talks about being stewards on this Earth of many things. And money is one of them. I remember praying for money. I remember being desperate and praying with all I had for money to get us thru. I was the child who spent the money on the chips and candy bar and had no change to give. Actually, I was worse. I was the child who brought chips, a candy bar, and ice cream to the counter and didn't have enough to pay. I made selfish decisions and was not a good steward of the things God had given me. The problem was, I didn't see that. All the other kids had chips, candy bars, ice cream, and cookies at the checkout counter. And I told myself that I deserved those things too. I neglected to pay attention to what my instructions were. My own instructions had nothing to do with those other people in line, but that is where I was looking. I was not a good steward.
Wednesday night, Dave Ramsey said something that I've read in his book too. He said, whatever you are, if you add more money to it, it will make it bigger. I was not a good steward, and when I received more money, it was an even bigger not-good steward. I made selfish decisions with our money. And when we had more money, I made bigger selfish decisions. God was smart enough to never give me loads of money when I prayed for it. And I am thankful for that now.
As an appraiser, I have appraised several foreclosed homes worth half a million dollars. Those people who lost those homes did not have a problem with money. They had a problem with stewardship of that money. There was obviously money around at some point. It is what they did with it that was the problem. Another Dave Ramsey-ism, "good debt management is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge". That sounds like a stewardship issue to me. Many people know what to do or have some idea that the way they are doing things is not right. But they never change that behavior.
Tonight I am thankful that I am learning to be a good steward. I'll never forget when I was pregnant with my first child and waitressing for awhile; I had a large table of business people leave me a $200 tip. I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to bless people like that. And I can never get to that place if I'm not first a good steward of what is given to me. I can't provide for someone else if I can't take care of myself. Stewardship . . not a word I gave a lot of consideration to years ago; but definitely a word that I am looking at more now. How can God bless me more if I don't take care of the blessings he has already given me? I wouldn't be able to handle it . . . but I'm learning to ;)