Stewardship

Another year has rolled around, and it is almost Commitment Sunday at my church again. I thought about pulling my post out from last year and re-posting it, but I realized I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in my understanding from last year. I decided I wanted, no, I needed, to write these words down so I would remember what God has taught me.

Over the last few weeks, the Bible class lessons and sermons at my church have been on stewardship. I’ve learned things I never knew before. One thing in particular startled me.  There are several words we are used to seeing in Scripture. Words such as believe, praylove, and give, along with many others. Out of those words, the word give appears the most times, 2,162 to be exact.

I would have thought some of those other words might be more important. Like believe, maybe. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This verse from Scripture is considered the go-to verse for those leading others to Christ, and it has the word believe in it. So, how many times does this word appear in Scripture? Only 272.

What about love? There are so many examples of this I hesitate to post examples for fear I would miss something, but here are just a few.  1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This example, of course, comes out of the famous love chapter in Scripture where the word appears many times. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  And finally, one of my favorites from 1 John 4:9. “We love because he first loved us.” There are many more examples. But, does this word appear in Scripture more than give? No, it appears 714 times.

Finally, here’s an example of the word pray in Scripture. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer is something Jesus talks a lot about. It doesn’t appear more in Scripture though than give. It only appears 371 times.

So, what is it about that word give that is so important to God? I probably should give some examples from Scripture first. You’re familiar with the words from Matthew 6:11. “Give us today our daily bread.” Here’s another example from Luke 14:33. “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”  Proverbs 25:21 is another example that a lot of us cringe at. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” And finally, from 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

God means for us to give. He does not mean for us to be focused on ourselves. That is why the word appears so many times in Scripture.  Let me repeat myself. God wants us to be focused on others. This is a hard thing to hear in today’s me focused society, and all of us who claim Christ face that challenge of where our focus should be each and every day. We should want to meet that challenge though and defeat it. We should want to show Whose we are to the world around us, and we can do that by what our giving priorities are whether that be money or time or a combination of both. Showing Whose I am by my giving priorities is the desire of my heart, and I pray that it is the desire of yours too.

I am going to quote some of what I wrote in last year’s blog post because I feel it even more strongly this year.

“Do we really want to win our world for Christ? Or is church and what we do at church just something to check off our list and not even the most important part of our list? I don’t want church or my faith to be something to check off a list.  I want my life and my money to show what I really believe in. I want people to see Jesus in me. I might not be able to give as much money as someone else, but, from what I can give, money, as well as time, I want people to see  what my priorities are.  And my very first priority is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

God’s blessings on all of you today!

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It is Well with My Soul

It’s been almost a month since I wrote in this blog, and something big has happened since then. My husband has found full-time permanent work. We will not have to leave the city we have learned to call home over the last four years. We will not have to leave our friends, the people who have become our family. It is the first time in a long time that I have felt optimistic about our future.

The optimism though doesn’t come from anything my husband or I have done even though my husband was the one who got the job. It comes from our Lord and Savior who is the ultimate provider. I realized that God had to bring me to the point of saying, like the song, it is well with my soul, even if my husband didn’t get the job.  And I did. I knew that God would be with us no matter what. When I was able to say that, things came through, and it all happened.

God’s timetable is never the same as ours, and that is the main lesson he has been teaching me through all of this. I recalled one other thing last month. It had been a year since we had started praying for full-time permanent work for my husband. I had lost sight of that when he got the contract job and then with everything he and we had gone through while he had the job. When I remembered this, I began to connect the dots.

God has taught me so many lessons this year and has poured out so many blessings. He has given me a strong desire to cement my knowledge of the faith I claim which I will talk about more in the months to come. But, for now, I will finish with the words from the song “It is Well with My Soul”

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

God’s blessings on all of you today!