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I hear you talk about stewardship a lot and I've been trying to be more faithful with the way I manage all my resources. I want to be a steward and would really like to find a mentor to help me. What kind of characteristics should I look for in a mentor? How would I recognize myself as a steward?
Steward in Training
I talk a lot about stewardship and the practical steps it takes to live like one now but I wish I had known about it earlier in life and looked for a godly mentor to help me on my journey! I commend your questions and hope to answer them well.
Understanding True Stewardship
Stewardship is commonly misunderstood. It's not just about getting out of debt or sticking to a budget. It's much more than just writing a tithe check every month.
Andrew Murray summed it up this way: The world asks, "What does a man own?" Christ asks, "How does he use it?
Larry Burkett described it like this: When we surrender every area of our lives, including our finances, to God, then we are free to trust Him to meet our needs. But if we would rather hold tightly to those things that we possess, then we find ourselves in bondage to those very things.
Jesus gave us important financial principles in The Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25. In this parable, it is clear that we have the responsibility to manage His property. We're not the owners of what we have, we're simply temporary managers. And how seriously we take that responsibility will determine if we are faithful or unfaithful stewards.
Stewardship Doesn't End Here
Few people truly understand how serious stewardship is. The rewards of good stewardship are eternal. As much as Christians desire to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant," I wonder how many know that those words are reserved for the faithful stewards!
Stewardship means we don't consume all we have been given on ourselves, but have preserved some for others. Those who multiplied what was given to them were commended for their good work (see Matthew 25:14-30) because there were resources available to help and bless those who cannot work. The good stewards were willing and able to give to the hungry, thirsty, sick, prisoners, orphans, widows and aliens to show God's love to the hurting.
Heaven will involve more stewardship responsibility! It won't be a celestial vacation spent fishing over the edge of a cloud. It's where the body of Christ will have the awesome privilege of serving the Creator, Owner, and Master of the Universe for all eternity. The faithful stewards on Earth will be put in charge of cities in Heaven where they will continue to work and serve as stewards of God Almighty.
How to Recognize a Good Steward
So, a faithful steward can be summed up as:
One who recognizes that God owns everything
One who faithfully manages resources according to biblical principles
One who intentionally multiplies resources and uses them for God's glory
One who gives cheerfully, saves consistently, invests wisely, and avoids debt
One who works as unto the Lord
The character of the steward consists of being humble, wise, loving, cheerful, content, grateful and disciplined.
How to Find a Mentor
When seeking a wise mentor, look for someone who has a proven record of financial faithfulness. This person should be one who has walked with the Lord awhile, loves His Word, and serves others. A mentor must have a good reputation, live above reproach, exercise self-controlled, and be humble. One who is compassionate, yet able to give the honest hard truth when needed, capable of teaching, and has available time to spend with you is one with whom you can build a solid relationship. They should be free from any conflict of interest when it comes to discussing your personal financial choices.
Have a look at the characteristics Paul recommended for overseers and elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
Crown can also help connect you to a mentor! Learn more here.
Once you find the right mentor, meet with them and share your heart to grow in faithfulness and discipline to better meet your financial goals and please the Lord with your stewardship. Suggest working together through one of many Crown resources. Be sure to include focus on growing in your identity as a steward, your character and your practices. God wants our heart, not just our wallet.
God is the best mentor. Spend time with Him through prayer and Bible Study. Memorize His Word and hide it in your heart. Renew your mind with truth and your entire worldview will be transformed by His holiness.
You have touched on a subject dear to the mission of Crown. Consider getting involved helping us to serve more people like you who have set their hearts towards the ultimate goal of hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant."