Stewardship: The Care of a Sovereign God

This is part of the Stewardship Foundations Series.

I’m a huge fan of Crown Financial Ministries and their small group study on financial stewardship. Rather than diving right in on tithing and debt, they start off teaching about God’s sovereignty. It catches you off guard, but you realize afterwards that it’s the perfect place to start.

God’s sovereignty – the fact that he is all-powerful, all-knowing, and totally in control – is the starting place for much of Christian doctrine. And to really wrap our minds around stewardship, we first need to understand who God is and what He has said about Himself.

God Owns Everything

Colossians 1:16 tells us that all things were created by Christ – and all things were created for Christ. God created everything, and He owns everything.

He owns the animals (Psalm 50:10), the land (Leviticus 25:23), and the silver and gold (Haggai 2:8). Multiple verses proclaim that God owns the entire world, such as Deuteronomy 10:14: “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.”

Even more, God owns us. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The application of these truths is challenging. We realize that our time is, in essence, owned by God. Therefore, every decision about the usage of time is a spiritual decision. There is no such thing as “my time” – every second of our lives is “God’s time.”

God Is in Control

God’s sovereignty is defined by his absolute control over everything.

God does what he pleases (Psalm 135:6) and “works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

He controls life and death, riches and poverty (1 Samuel 2:6-7). He sets up rulers and removes them at will (Isaiah 40:23), directing their thoughts and decisions wherever He pleases (Proverbs 21:1).

It was God who hardened the heart of Pharaoh (Exodus 9:12), caused the prison keeper to look kindly on Joseph (Genesis 39:21), and gave Daniel favor in the eyes of the chief eunuch (Daniel 1:9).

Honor comes from God, and He is the one who makes great and gives strength. (1 Chronicles 29:12). The ability to earn wealth comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:18).

Why Does This Matter?

So why do this little refresher course on sovereignty? How is this foundational to stewardship?

The essence of biblical stewardship boils down to this: God has a part to play, and we have a part to play. Every single issue we have with stewardship is because of a breakdown somewhere in that simple formula.

Many problems will be due to our failure to obediently fulfill our responsibility. That’s obvious.

But problems are also caused when we try to take on responsibilities that are not ours. We can’t forget what God’s part is – and we can’t forget that He is always faithful to do His part.

We don’t have to be in control, because God is. We only have to do what he reveals to us. God is faithful to do the rest.

This is tremendous freedom!

We don’t need to know the future – that’s God’s part. We just have to do our part.

We don’t need to know every situation that has ever existed and will ever exist – that’s God’s part. We just have to do our part.

He shows us what our part is in His word. He explains to us the principles we need to live by. We need to strive to obey this revealed will. And for everything else, we can trust that our sovereign, loving God is in control.

Trusting His Ways

When the rubber meets the road – when the “theory” of God’s ways meets the reality of the world we live in – we sometimes don’t think it will work as nicely and neatly as the Bible claims it will.

You’re up to your eyeballs in projects – and you don’t think you can obey God’s directions to rest. You think you could advance far up the corporate ladder – but not if you give your wife and family the attention they need.

We don’t need to worry about whether His ways are best. Determining the best ways is His part. We just need to do our part: following those ways.

Furthermore, we can trust that a totally obedient life (as only Jesus can live) will be able to handle all of the time demands placed upon it. A sovereign God in control of the entire universe is not going to require more than can fit in a 24-hour period. He fully understands what can and can not be accomplished with a human schedule.

Fallen, depraved human beings won’t be able to achieve His standard of perfection. But it’s important for us to understand that any shortcomings in our schedule are the result of our own poor choices, lack of wisdom, and sin – not the result of God laying more time demands on us than we can bear.

Checking the Foundations:

– Do you realize that God essentially owns every second of your life?
– Are you recognizing that every time usage decision is a spiritual decision?
– You may have intellectual knowledge of God’s sovereignty, but does your life reflect it?
– Are you nervous when committing to God’s ways for time stewardship?
– Do you trust that God is in ultimate control of the hearts of men – or do you think that you have to violate His ways in order to get favor in the eyes of employers?
– Are you being obedient today and trusting the rest to God?
– What problems have you faced when you tried to “do God’s part”?
– Do you see failure in your time stewardship as the result of your poor choices and sin – or of just hard circumstances out of your control?
– Do you feel burdened by the fact that all failure is yours and not God’s – or do you feel comfort knowing that God will absolutely succeed in “his part” of stewardship?

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