Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Becoming Better Stewards

I am going to make a little confession today. It will shock a few of you, as least it will shock my parents. One of the things that planned to do on my camping trip to Colorado was to sit around the campfire and smoke a cigar. For whatever reason cigar smoking has intrigued me for the past several years, and then this summer I had a friend give me two cigars. I smoked those and decided that it would be cool to be able to do that around the campfire, and so I ordered several cigars online.

Like many new activities I was excited when the cigars came, and I smoked a few before I left on my trip (this has taken place over several weeks, so it wasn’t like I was lighting up on a daily basis). The funny thing is that by the time I actually got out to Colorado, the newness of cigar smoking had worn off, and I wasn’t all that excited about smoking anymore. In fact the last cigar I smoked I didn’t even finish, I just throw it into the campfire.

This got me thinking about how I spend money. This was a classic example of using the money God has blessed me with on me. Way too often I look at the money I have in my bank account and think about what I can get for myself. Rather than looking for ways to give generously I look for ways to satisfy my desires. What ways am I missing out on being a blessing because I am only looking to bless myself?

James wrote:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-15; ESV).

When we have the means to help, especially when we have the financial means, then it is our responsibility to help those in need. Prayer is important, but it is also an act of faith to give, and so we should commit to doing both.

Here is where the rubber meets the road for me: after tithing and providing for my needs my next obligation is to give to people in need. I need to be more intentional about helping people in need. After all, God has blessed me so that I can become a blessing to others.

I am not saying that we have to give up our hobbies and the little pleasures we have in life, rather I want us to consider if they are justified when there are people who are in desperate need. After all, I think all of us can identify areas in our lives where are money, sometimes quite literally, goes up in smoke. Perhaps it is time we intentionally become better stewards of the gifts God has given to us.


middy1 said...

Is good to have your blog post to read again. Glad you had time away in Colorado-beauty, peaceful downtime and refreshing time for your spirit.
Time spent in the mountains by myself, fishing or just sitting at a small lake is such a time of sensing God's Holy Presence and also hearing from Him. I always come back revived and always have further deepening of the relationship with My Heavenly Father.
Be Blessed Always and again glad you are back safe and blogging again.

Your friend in Christ,

Paul said...

It is good to know I was missed, and it is good to be back writing.

Anonymous said...

Had an elder in my church who suffered from cyclo-disthymia. One of the ways he displayed his down phase was to stay home from church and smoke a cigar. I don't know if the cigar helped, but eventually he would start to come back to church. The cigar probably helped as much as most psychotropics. So do you want to share more of your feelings, pastor. Maybe we can get to the bottom of what is really troubling you.

--Hawkeye Gold

Anonymous said...

Don't let Hawkeye Gold give you a hard time. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

--Husker Red

Paul said...

Or perhaps a certain someone shouldn't have allowed a certain skull full mush listen to a certain cigar smoking radio host.

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