Stewardship: Mental Strongholds
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:10-17 NIV
As followers of Christ, we are called to have dominion and to practice good stewardship of the resources God has entrusted us with. Whether you have few resources or many, God is not as concerned with the “how much” as He is with the “how.”
We remember the poor widow in the Bible who gave a few mites into an offering. Many Pharisees were giving large amounts of money into that offering, and the present day value of what she put into the offering might have been a few pennies. But Jesus measures our stewardship by what we have been given, not by what others have been given. We are only measured against ourselves and what God has empowered us to do. If we want to increase, we have to learn to manage what we have wisely.
Many times, mental strongholds or ways of thinking can restrict people to only being able to handle their finances and affairs in a certain way. If your finances continue to take a certain patterns and you feel “stuck,” this message is for you. Let’s find out about attitudes to be watchful of when we are trying to be good stewards of all that God has blessed us with. To discover what stewardship is, let’s first talk about what stewardship is not.
Stewardship is not abstaining from luxuries that provide pleasure. Many have been taught that spending your money on fun events, such as taking kids to ball games, vacations, or spending an evening at the movies is not good stewardship. To some, this is considered “wasting” money. This belief is due to a misunderstanding of biblical stewardship. We need time outside of the home to form new experiences and memories with our family members. It is godly to be able to enjoy some of the fruits of your labors with your family. Your family needs time away together, to laugh, see God’s creation, and develop your relationships outside of everyday life.
Stewardship is not merely being “frugal.” Some people are always trying to find a bargain, to the point that they become obsessed with it and judgmental about others who pay more, thinking of themselves as better stewards. Interestingly, you’ll find that people who are so obsessed with being “thrifty” are many times people that are plagued by a poverty mentality. This level of thinking keeps them from enjoying what they do have because they’re so focused on what they can’t afford.
You can’t do just one thing right and expect overall positive results. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t just eat healthy food, you also have to stop eating unhealthy food, and adopt a healthy exercise program. The same with stewardship; it is the application of multiple principles working together to bring increase. This means we need to constantly be looking for strategies of stewardship to add to those we already utilize.
Stewardship is not what you have. Stewardship asks, “What are you doing with what you have?” The stewardship principle is to manage resources in such a way that you increase them. In the parable of the talents, it didn’t matter that the one with two talents didn’t bring back as much as the one with five; in fact, they both received the same reward. The master’s anger was at the fact that the one he gave one talent to didn’t at least put the money in the bank and let it gain interest. We are all different, but we all do have at least one thing in common – God has entrusted us with resources. It’s up to us to apply the stewardship principle and to manage our resources in such a way that we increase them.
Stewardship is the practice of systematic and proportionate giving of time, abilities and material possessions based on the conviction that these are a trust from God to be used in His service for the benefit of His Kingdom. It is a Divine-Human Partnership, with God as the Senior Partner.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Cor 16:1-2 KJV)
A “steward” is one who ministers support of the family, having the products of business put in his hands for this purpose. A steward has charge of the affairs of a family or household whose duty is to provide for the family to purchase and make provision. It is one who manages another’s wealth.
God has access to all that we have in the natural and we have access to all that God has in the supernatural. Nothing is ours – It all belongs to Him. Many times, mental strongholds or ways of thinking can restrict people to only being able to handle their finances and affairs in a certain way. If your finances continue to take a certain patterns and you feel “stuck,” remember that stewardship is the application of multiple strategies to bring increase in your life.
Stewardship is not just withholding any money from your entertainment fund; it is not simply being frugal. True stewardship is outlined in the Word of God for us to discover and apply our lives daily. When we manage God’s wealth wisely, He brings the increase from the north, the south, the east and the west progressively as we prosper in Him.