Stewardship and Contentment

“If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” –Luke 6:11

Like many things in life, the choices we make in the area of finances are a test. How we handle our money reflects the condition of our hearts. Are we going to choose comfort, self-indulgence, the easy road of carnal pleasure? Or will we bring our money into submission to God along with everything else? If we will, God will give us greater blessings as we show our faithfulness.

If we do not, we are showing that we won’t, or can’t, see that the spiritual realm contains far greater things than the material world. Fallen human nature is fixated upon the tangible. Our default setting as humans is sensualism. To some extent, the condition is an overwhelming force, and we will have to contend with it until the day we die. But we have no obligation to capitulate to such shallowness. We can cultivate the life of the Spirit and deliberately replace our fleshly desires with the spiritual. Nevertheless, although our will is central to the choice, God is central to the application. I can do more to move into the realm of the Spirit with thirty minutes of prayer or a day of fasting than I can in a month of determined human effort.

Contentment is a deliberate act of will by which I reject covetousness and envy. Covetousness is a serious sin not because it is so wrong for glittering things to catch our eye, but because coveting pits us against others and creates in our insides the impression that God has shortchanged us. It is usually fruitless to compare ourselves with others. Faith tells us that the means God has given each of us flows out of His wisdom and love for us. More is not necessarily better. It is God’s mercy that I am not yet (and may never be) a millionaire.

Perspective is everything. Contentment has to do with acknowledging and rejecting the pursuit of flesh-driven, selfish desires. Radical devotion calls for believers to prayerfully empty their minds and hearts of all their extravagant visions of comfort and material prosperity. Renewing the mind involves cultivating a heart of gratitude for what God has given us. As to material sacrifices, when the Christian can bring himself to make them, he will surely find that it is well worth the effort to live modestly even when the money is available for greater comforts. Think what benefit those leftover resources will mean for future needs and investments in God’s kingdom. Eternity is forever. 

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About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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2 Responses to Stewardship and Contentment

  1. Fred Blauer says:

    Hi Doug,
    I like this passage, it is an interesting teaching and one I think helps us solve the difficulties of having a “heart of extravagant visions”. My take on the story culminates when Christ exhorts us to be shrewd with our money. In other words, we are to have a vision of what we want to be part of financially and to be active, intelligent, shrewd, in leveraging our money to further the cause. I think he implies that we should have something burning in our heart that we want to support, just as the unrighteous steward had in preparing for his own future. He was motivated, it is doubtful we can be too motivated to live a simple life unless we have a driving burden for someone or some Kingdom work. For example, If I had a brother in bonds in another country and they demanded a ransom for his release, self-denial would come easy as I saved for his freedom. Sadly it can be some time before we sense the loss and bondage of those we don’t know but whom God loves and longs to see free. It brings to mind children as young as eight who have been kidnapped and are sold into prostitution, as this horror becomes more real and as we learn about these great satanic atrocities taking place in our world, we find a conviction begin to rise up in us and like Job we want to ‘crush the jaws of wickedness’, and if our money can be a way of help it becomes easier to sacrifice for someone than simply a principle of living. I believe the woman who gave her last two mites had a great cause burning in her heart. Love can work miracles of selflessness and sacrifice. Principles can send us down the right road but vision can make us fly…………

  2. Douglas Abbott says:

    Loved your comment, Fred. Very inspiring. When we put it in perspective, how hard is it to save when the choice is between a bigger DVD collection or providing ministry funds to help a starving family in India, who might end up in eternity with Christ as a result of our giving? Perhaps we should pray that God would help us to be inspired frequently so we don’t forget…

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