When my oldest son was away at college, he was enrolled in an accelerated program that made working a part-time job unfeasible. So I provided nearly all his support. Right before he went off to school, we sat down and drew up a budget for him based upon a set amount I’d send him each month.
Two or three months later, we looked at his budget to see how he was doing. I was pleased to discover he was doing a great job of living within his means. He wasn’t going out to eat or seeing a lot of movies. He wasn’t breaking his budget with new clothes. Essentially, he was being a good steward.
So what did I, as a loving father, do for my good-steward son? I rewarded him! I increased the amount of money I sent him each month and told him, “Do anything you want with the extra money—go out to eat with your friends after church a few more times or buy a new shirt or two.”
A few months later, he called me and said: “Dad, I’ve been thinking. If I move into a different apartment, I can lower my living expenses and save you some money.” Of course, I was blessed to see that he was thinking of ways to help. He knew his mother and I were sacrificing to make college possible for him.
We checked into his idea, worked out all the details and helped him move into the less expensive apartment. Shortly thereafter, he called and said, “It’s working out like we thought; you can lower the amount you’re sending me now.”
Do you know what I did? I kept sending him the same amount! I said, “Thanks, Son, but now you’ll just have more spending money. You’ve been a good steward, and I want you to be rewarded. You should enjoy the benefits of your good stewardship.”
Why don’t we expect God, at the very least, to be as gracious and responsive as I was to my own son? Why are we so surprised to learn that God rewards and blesses us for being good stewards and living below our means?
Where Are You Investing?
Perhaps you have an IRA—an Individual Retirement Account—or maybe some other form of retirement, such as social security. And that’s great. It’s good to save, make investments and be a good steward financially. But I wonder how many people have an ERA—an Eternal Retirement Account.
I know that I have more in my ERA than I have in my IRA ... a lot more. If I were to die tomorrow, I’m taken care of for eternity. I’ve made an investment the stock market can’t touch.
Do you realize the only stocks that haven’t lost any money over the last year are eternal stocks?
A good steward isn’t someone who stores everything up and leaves it all on earth when he dies. A good steward is someone who schedules as much ahead as he can—someone who gives to the kingdom, who invests in the kingdom.
And here’s the great part—although we’re going through tough economic times, each of us has the unique opportunity to place his trust in our heavenly Father, who owns everything, knowing that He can provide for every need. I urge you today: If you want to not only survive but thrive in good times as well as bad, be a faithful steward, give generously and continue to make eternal investments in God’s kingdom.
Robert Morris is the founder and senior pastor of Gateway Church (gatewaypeople.com) in Dallas. He is the host of the weekly television program The Blessed Life and is the author of numerous books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny and The Power of Your Words (all Regal Books).
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