Five Decisions to True Financial Freedom: The Steward Decision
Not too long ago, my daughter got an email from her college roommate. Her roommate’s great grandmother, Neva Morris, had just become the oldest living person in the United States with the passing of Mary Josephine Ray. Mrs. Morris had just turned 114 years old and her occupation in Wikipedia was listed as “church member.”
114 years. That is a long time! Mrs. Morris was born in 1895, before two World Wars, before the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, before airplanes and space travel, and before computers and Twitter. What struck me, though, was the brevity of our time on earth. Since I was born in 1942, I’ve known plenty of people in my lifetime who were Mrs. Morris’s contemporaries. Those people are all gone now. All of them. James 4:13 – 15 (NIV) says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
When I started Ronald Blue & Company in 1979, I began to study the biblical basis for financial planning. In my studies, I repeatedly returned to Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents. In it, God is a Master who leaves on a journey and expects His subjects to adequately (and even expertly) manage His resources while He is away. In the parable, the time that the Master is gone is brief. Our lives are brief. To think that we own anything outright is shortsighted at the best and deeply prideful at the worst. All that we have – money, time, talents, relationships, opportunities, children, homes, animals, citizenships, ALL of it — belongs to Him. He desires that we use all of it to His glory.
You and I are stewards. We have a choice to make, though, about whether or not we recognize ourselves as such. As a financial steward, we quickly see the value in the “musts.” We must pay taxes, we must pay our debts, we are commanded in Scripture to give, and we know the wisdom of saving. The battleground of stewardship, therefore, is in what remains after the “musts” are done. The battleground of financial stewardship is our lifestyle. Lifestyle decisions are daily decisions. To make lifestyle decisions in accordance with the will of God, we need to be in daily relationship with Him, seeking His guidance and His will in Scripture and through prayer.
Neva Morris had over 41,000 days. You and I will probably have fewer than that. Our Master will soon return, and we will be able to look Him in the eye and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23, NIV)
Listen to some additional thoughts from me on this topic in the video below. God bless you!!