Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 7, 1961
NUMBER 31, PAGE 3,11b

The Stewardship Of Life

Jesse M. Kelley, Tulsa, Oklahoma

When the individual has recognized and then properly acknowledged God's ownership of all that inheres in or belongs to the life, it produces a stewardship that demands for the life a definite plan for getting, for using, for giving, and for serving. Life is a composite and many sided reaching the spiritual, the social, the physical, and the mental phases of human experience, touching not alone the personality but also the substance or possessions in the life. It follows then, that if stewardship is to be adequate and successful there must be a plan for its administration. Many of the ills of life are caused by attempting to live in the hit or miss fashion. Much poverty, both physical and spiritual, is caused by endeavoring to live without a plan.

A workman drifts Evan one job to another, seeming never able to adjust himself to a definite course of action in the acquirement of a steady income for himself and his family. The grass seems always to be greener just across the fence. Economic stability is never attained, much less assured. His family suffers for lack of security because there is no definite plan in the life of the head of the house. A preacher without an objective or plan finds it easier to move on than to conquer his difficulties, only to find that the new place also has problems that he did not anticipate which serve only to move him on again. The cause of Christ suffers because he continues his search for a Utopia that he will never find. Many a church also lives in this hit or miss way and money comes in, or fails to come in and expenses must be met without a budget of expense and beneficence to mark the scale of financial objectives either for income or outgo. Constant trouble and spiritual loss are the result where there is no plan.

We would do well to remember that God made a plan for all his creations. He didn't wind the world up like an alarm clock and set, it out in space to run down. He provided for days, seasons, seed time and harvest. This well ordered plan never varies, if it did chaos would result. The plan can be depended upon. Unlike man, God does not become lethargic or indifferent in carrying out his plan. God also has made a plan for us, and we are obligated to plan our lives so that at the end of our stewardship we shall have worked out our part in his plans. God made for himself a plan in the relationship also, and as he carries out his plan, he expects us to carry out ours. This involves the two-sided aspect of our salvation — God's part, and our part.

Let us look briefly at God's plan for himself in this relationship. He has planned to maintain a proper relationship to every true steward. Love and not fear is the basis of this relationship. It is a definite obligation because God has made known to us his plans and then put back of them his solemn promise that his obligations will be met. The objectives included in the Lord's plan are concerned with the salvation of the soul and the glorification of his name among men. The details of that plan are so exact that every individual who acknowledges him is related to it. The objective can only be attained by our participation in the plan. Such participation must not result solely because God has commanded it. Good practices, or even wrong habits, rest upon fundamental foundations far below any command. They are good or bad not because someone says so but because God has said so.

God's purpose provides for the salvation from sin of every soul through the blood of his Son. His plan for our benefit called for his Son to leave the beauties of heaven and take upon himself the form of a man and become obedient, even to the death on the cross, the just dying for the unjust. The plan then called for the conquering of death and the grave; his resurrection to be followed by the ascension and the taking of his place of authority on the throne of David at the right hand of God. The plan then called for the Comforter to be sent to take his place as an instructor and be his representative on earth to instruct and assist mankind to a completion of this plan. The steward, won by love, has knowledge of all these plans and knows that they are now in operation, and in order to fulfill his obligations determines to match God's plan with one in his own life.

The steward's plans must be aimed as high as are the purposes of God. The objective must be worthwhile and therefore world-wide. In its operation, it must include the proper use of all his life entities and possessions. System must characterize his life. This plan must include the idea of the proportionate use of all that is entrusted to him. His gifts of money must be in proportion to his gifts of talent. For emphasis' sake we state again: God will not have the gift without the giver! One phase of life or one's objective must not secure from the steward more than a just or wholesome proportion of the powers or substance that make up the life. As God will not have the gift without the giver, he will not have the giver without the gift. It is therefore essential that the steward plan to give a proportionate share of his time to meet the plans of God heretofore set out. To attempt to give God two hours on Sunday morning while all the rest of the life is given to the varied activities of business and pleasure is to spoil the life by a lack of proper proportions, and will injure seriously the effectiveness of the steward. No life can be at its best when one phase or concern is allowed to throw out of proportion the other phases and concerns. The same holds true with reference to the giving of possessions. To give God a dollar a week out of a salary of one hundred dollars is to be an unfaithful steward in the substance of life because due proportions were not planned and maintained in connection with the income. The plan must comprehend the keeping of an account with God. An account will be given in the day of judgment and to be acceptable and up to date it must begin here and now.

Can you render an honest account to God when you do so? An account of time, talent, energy, and possessions must be given at the last great day. Let us audit our books and get them in order for the great and final audit that is to be made by the Great Accountant of the ages.