In our teaching and preaching wing, Life Institute, we often hear comments like this…
- “It’s too late for me to make a change financially”
- “I have made too many financial mistakes for me and/or my family to recover and do well”
- “I want to be a good steward of what God has put into my care, but how can I with all the years of poor choices that preceded today?”
We hear these statements and more like them over and over at almost every seminar that we do! It may seem strange, but we are so glad when we hear these comments because it gives us an opportunity to speak into their situation and we can do so because Easter, specifically what Christ has done on the cross, has changed EVERYTHING, including our stewardship!
What Does Easter Have to Do with Stewardship?
Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has provided for us…
The Great Exchange – The cross is a picture of exchanging all of our sins for Christ’s righteousness.
This is a great encouragement for us as Stewards because it shows that we are not alone in this battle. Christ is accomplishing His work and He is redeeming our failures, specifically our failure of not being able to atone for our sins against God. He also redeems our failure of not stewarding well His resources that He put into our care!
There is hope for the road-weary, war-weary steward. Jesus Christ, in His work on the cross and the resurrection, says that there is forgiveness, life, hope, and a future life in Him!
Jeremiah 29:11 states…“For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future!”
Jesus paid the debt that we owe to God because of our sins.
Through the payment Jesus paid on the cross, you and I can currently have forgiveness of our sins today, and we also get the promise of Heaven, to be with Him forever more!
This sin debt is a debt that we could have NEVER paid! For there is no “debt snowball” calculator that would ever be able to calculate a full payment of your debt! It would never be able to be paid! This is why Christ went to the cross, to pay our debt penalty so those that call on the name of the Lord…and trust in Him as their only hope of forgiveness of sins and hope of heaven, they will on that day of trusting in Him would be forgiven of their sins, having their sin-debt PAID IN FULL. But not only have our debts been paid, there are future benefits that God offers to us.
Heaven’s Treasures – You can’t go to Heaven and be poor
There is hope for those who feel like they are poor and believe that this is their lot forever more. But, that is not the case! God clearly states that one day we will receive great, eternal treasure in heaven one day! God makes it clear that you will one day be RICH! A blog post that I read recently stated this: “You are eternally rewarded (which means the reward in heaven is FOREVER more with you) when you give, pray and fast in private, forgive someone, share the gospel, love your enemies, endure insults and persecutions, etc. When it comes to rewards, the greatest reward every follower of Christ will receive is this: Seeing God face-to-face (Matthew 5:8; Revelation 22:4)” (Tithly)
The Great Exchange points to the reality that all of our poverty goes to Christ, and all of Christ’s wealth comes to us.
You and I are called to be “good stewards” of what God puts into our care. How do we become that “good steward”? It can only happen if you and I look to Jesus as The Great Steward.
The GREAT Steward – Jesus Himself
He is the good shepherd, the great physician, and the ultimate good steward. Jesus prayed, “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” (John 18:9, NIV84) Here we see that Jesus is stewarding, caring for, the most precious creation that God had ever made: the souls of men. He committed to not lose a single one! Since Jesus has accomplished all that God requires, we ought to work hard (and pray hard) to model our lives after His example! As stated moments ago, we need to continually remember that Jesus is the GREAT STEWARD of our souls. Our souls are in His loving, protective and eternal care! If you are in His care, you cannot ever be lost. “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29, NIV84)
This Great Steward not only cares for our souls, but He also gives us courage.
Courage to face the difficult days ahead.
Jesus, the good steward, was tempted as we are, yet without sin. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV84). Through our obedience to His Word and His calling, He will equip us to do those things that seem crazy and impossible! As in this story of the Israelites in Haggai’s days, we too may need a “course correction” in order to move forward. That course correction, for the Israelites, was none other than God speaking through the voice of Haggai stating that “I will be with you”! This was the game changer for them, for God was WITH them! This is the same for you and me today. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV84).
We can deal with whatever financial challenges lie ahead, knowing that Jesus will not leave us on our own. He will give us the wisdom, skills and abilities we need to handle what is in front of us, including the courage to face the consequences of poor stewardship decisions.
The Privilege of Union/Sonship with Christ
We have the incredible opportunity to run to Christ in the midst of our hardship. Through our union with Christ, the living Holy Spirit within, and His Word, we have the capability of not continuing down those past roads! We now (through Christ) have the ability to ask for wisdom (and God gives it to us). “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV84). This wisdom comes in two ways. First, it is our access to God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. Second, we get wisdom through the Counsel of the Godly. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20, NIV84).
The work of Jesus on the cross has changed everything.
- It has offered us forgiveness of sins.
- It gives us union with Christ through our time here on earth.
- It gives us the ability and courage to take on the challenges of daily life.
- We are gifted eternal life with the Lord forever (for those that trust in Him)
- And we will NEVER be poor, for we will be co-heirs in the riches of Glory for ALL eternity.
- And through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we have the capability of making right and wise choices with the stewardship of what the Lord has put into our care!
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