Please use this as a family teaching tool. i.e. explain to the children or others who may need a refresher, the relationships between the individuals, by using the entire text Vs. 1 - 67. It may also be useful to the adults as a reminder that "Stewardship is lifestyle
“The Marks of a Faithful Steward”.
This spotlight was planned to mark the inauguration of the Stewardship Department's Quarterly Spotlight on our individual and collective Stewardship Lifestyle. Due to the ongoing restrictions of Social Distancing imposed by COVID 19; the plan has not yet materialized. In this context, I’ve chosen, therefore, to publish it instead. I hope and pray, that you’ll make the time to read it. I’ll start with a rhetorical three pronged question; (1) "What is Christian Stewardship; (2) What does God expect from us as practitioners of Christian Stewardship; (3) How can we, individually and collectively, be faithful stewards of God's gifts?
Before I propose what I believe to be, a comprehensive
answer to my multi-pronged question, I think that we’ll be
better served, as practitioners and proponents of this Christian
discipline, if I were to rephrase our stewardship mantra. In this
context, allow me to propose this reformulation;
"Stewardship is total lifestyle. It involves our environment, financial resources, health, relationships, spirituality, time, and talents. (I’ve listed these, alphabetically).
There must be no doubt about it! Christian Lifestyle Stewardship is a way of living, in which we recognize, and accept the fact, that God is the source. All things come from God, all things belong to God. All resources, therefore, must be used for His Glory and for the common good. “Unity in community”, is the peaceable fruit of Righteousness and intentional Stewardship.
I will try to avoid being redundant, by not taking the time to discuss Stewardship from the moment in creation week, when God gave Adam the Stewardship responsibility of “caring for the earth”. I will, instead, go farther down the stream of time, to highlight Eliezer, Abraham’s steward who very clearly, possessed, manifested and practiced, Faithful lifestyle Stewardship, at its core. You will discover that is an excellent example of a dedicated Steward, one who resolutely managed all the affairs of his master Abraham. This vignette is carefully recorded in Gen. 24: 1 – 67, I urge you to read it, but for purposes of this presentation I want to zero in on four of these sixty seven verses. vs. 4, 12, 45 & 50.
In vs 4. Abraham instructs Eliezer to go to his ancestral lands where his kindred lives, to get a wife for his son Isaac. In vs. 12, Eliezer prayed,” O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham”
Eliezer’s prayer is the pivotal step in his Stewardship lifestyle. When you’re partnering with God you must consult Him. Partners talk with each other. This wife-finding assignment, turns out to be one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible. This is also, one of the finest stories of Stewardship in the Bible. Here Eliezer clearly demonstrates the core values of a dedicated steward of God. He is ready and willing to seek God’s counsel. He manages with intentionality and in faith-filled detail, the affairs of Abraham. As the story unfolds, you’ll see in him the first-rate characteristics of an excellent Steward.
Eliezer regarded prayer as a critical aspect of his Stewardship responsibilities. Charged with the serious task of finding a wife for his master’s son Isaac, he earnestly prayed about the matter, consciously seeking, the guidance of God. His notion of success was simple, “the will of God as a kindness to his master”. Eliezar’s journey was not an ego trip; he was about his master’s business. His prayers, were not empty rituals. Vs. 45 tells us that he prayed from his heart. Eliezer believed in a God who answers prayers. There is no doubt that he learned about the efficacy of prayer, from his master Abraham, who was a man who lived in constant communion with God. You’ll also discover that;
Eliezer was a man of consistency. In Bethuel’s house he refused to eat until he had accomplished his business for Abraham, “First things first”! This faithful Steward, would not be sidetracked from his priorities. He persevered. His persistence is also reflected in the way he handled the pressure, to stay with Bethuel’s family for ten more days. He saw no good reason to linger, though he would have received, many privileges and pleasures as a welcome guest. But, God had answered his prayer, and blessed his mission, and he was eager to get home and report to his master.
Bethuel and Laban quickly agreed to Eliezer’s plan, they realized, that God was with this faithful Steward. From what we later learn about Laban, we know that he was not easy to convince. It was only after, they conceded, as vs. 50, succinctly states “this is from the Lord”, that Eliezer presented them with costly gifts from Abraham. Clearly, these gifts were not bribes to persuade them, they were expressions of gratitude to those already persuaded.
Someone has wisely said, “The world steps aside to allow to pass, the man who knows where he is going”. Men of purpose, men of vision and men of faith, are persuasive. Men, in this congregation, men like Dr. Eustus Nelson, one of the moving men in the planting and establishment of this gospel outreach in the City of Avon Park. We thank God for them.
Beyond any possibility of the slightest doubt, Eliezer’s Stewardship, gave him a place in the pantheon of Salvation History. He achieved something much more important than this one happy marriage. From Abraham through Isaac, came the children of Israel and through them, the Messiah, our Savior and King. Every faithful Steward is accomplishing more than he or she will ever know, this side of heaven. My friends, I ask you, are “the “Identifying Marks of a Faithful Steward, which shone so brightly in Eliezer’s conduct, true also of your life? Please be assured; nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except, that which lies, beyond, the will of God”. Truly, Stewardship, is everything you do, when you say; “Yes!” To Jesus.
“Only one life ‘twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ will last”.
David E. Mc Donald Stewardship Dept.
Ridge SDA Church.
God does not ask you to give what you do not have, but God cannot use what you do not give. Annon.