“What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” —1 Corinthians 4:7
Everyone likes to receive gifts. Well, gifts that we like—things that are fun, beneficial, or useful. In comparison to things that just sit and collect dust only to be thrown away or dropped off at a thrift store, we actually use the gifts that matter to us. And whether we realize it or not, we have been given many gifts, far beyond just that of birthdays and Christmas. In fact, everything we have in life has been given to us, and we use these gifts from God on a daily basis. This makes us stewards—people who are responsible to use all that we’ve received from God, and to use them well. But, what exactly has God given us?
While all of our situations and circumstances are different, we share this in common: we are all stewards of our time, talent, and treasure.
It’s not a question of if we use these things, but rather, how we use them. And it should be our desire to be good stewards.
Whether you’re bored out of your mind or you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, all of us face the reality that we are given the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can’t make time speed up or slow down, but we can decide how to use it. Ephesians 5:15–17 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” When it comes to things that distract us from God’s call on our lives, we should all say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Instead of wasting our time, we should use it in a way that enables us to grow spiritually, to help others, and to honor God, no matter what we do.
God created each of us with unique abilities and talents. The skills that we have are intended to help society flourish and to build up the body of Christ, the church. This means that we are to discover how God has gifted us, and to learn how to cultivate our spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving others. Unfortunately, many of our abilities are a source for pride and selfishness. Rather than striving for self-glorification, we should focus on serving others for their good and for God’s glory. So, ask yourself: What am I good at? What do I like to do? And then take those abilities and use them for God’s kingdom—to serve others, to point people to Jesus, and to give glory and honor to the One who equips us with such abilities.
One of the most difficult areas of stewardship is with our money and possessions. At some point in life, we all struggle with debt, late bills, school loans, the discipline to save, or financial tension in relationships. However, when we realize that everything we have has been given to us, it’s much easier to loosen the grip of selfishness in order to enjoy the blessing of giving by reaching out to others. The reality is that we invest in the things we are passionate about, and there is nothing more worthy of our affection than the gospel. As we use our earthly “treasure” for an eternal purpose, we can be sure that we are making a worthwhile investment in heavenly treasure—one that is eternally beneficial (see 1 Peter 1:4). As the missionary Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
In addition to time, talent, and treasure, there is another “T” that we have specifically been given as believers: truth. We have been given the message of the gospel, and we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. Like a mailman, we have the responsibility to deliver this message. We don’t add to it or take away from it, but we simply deliver it to the destination. We are to be faithful to share God’s truth with our words and to show God’s truth with our works. Like Paul, we should live with this perspective: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1–2). As we live for Jesus and honor Him as our Lord, we will be able to gladly steward everything that has been entrusted to us, recognizing that “from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
Search the Scriptures:
- Psalm 90:12
- Romans 12:3–8
- 1 Timothy 6:6–10, 17–19
- Jeremiah 9:23–24
- 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Questions to Consider:
- In what ways do you need to improve your time management? What things do you need to spend less time doing so you can spend more time on what really matters?
- How can you glorify God through the abilities and spiritual gifts that He has given you?
- How can you steward your money and possessions for the kingdom of God?
- In order to be good stewards of the gospel message, we must know it well. How would you explain the gospel to a nonbeliever?