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Perspective – a Blog Post

January 5, 2018

In January of 1983, we were living in Houston and I was in my sophomore year of high school. My mom and dad were tiring of the rat race of Houston and my dad was offered a job based back in their hometown of Rusk. The result of this was we would have to leave the place where we had lived 9 years. I had just made the varsity baseball team and I was the second chair trumpet player in the band at a large 5A school. I had just become a Christian and loved my youth group at Wilcrest Baptist Church. Mom was teaching in Katy ISD and we would finish out the year in Houston while dad moved to begin work.

It was a tough time for me, but it wasn’t without its benefits. I was 15, about to turn 16, and with mom working in one direction, me having school and baseball practice in another direction and dad living out of town, I needed transportation. Dad needed to purchase a truck for his new work, so I was going to the the recipient of an incredible treasure – the family vehicle – a 1978 Buick Regal with the official color of “Camel Beige”. Ok, so it might not seem like the incredible treasure I have made it out to be, but for me to be able to go and get my “hardship” drivers license at 15, almost 16, and have a car that would be mine to drive anytime I needed it was a treasure indeed. It wasn’t the most “manly” of colors, but hey, I didn’t really care. Most of my friends that were driving were driving hand-me-down cars anyway.

1978 Buick Regal

(Just imagine this beauty from the late 70’s in the “manly” color of Camel Beige…)

I loved that car. I had ridden in the back seat many, many times when it was the family car for 5-6 years prior to that, and it was a great feeling to be able to be in the drivers seat. I was well aware, however, that the car did not really belong to me. My parents had paid for that car and had spent years keeping it running and looking good. It was my responsibility to be the steward of that car and use it under the guidelines they gave for me. There were certain places I was not to go and anything beyond everyday use I needed to ask permission. If there was a problem, I had to find a pay phone and try and get in touch with my parents (that seems so foreign now).

I could go on, but you get the idea. The car was mine to take care of, was my responsibility for upkeep, but it was not mine. The same is true of my life. Psalm 24:1 tells me that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. That means all of the “stuff” as well as all of my life, my body, my time, my resources…they all belong to Him, and I need to handle them accordingly.

It’s so easy when we have plenty or things are going good to forget where things really come from. In Deuteronomy 8:11-20, the Lord speaks and tells His children not to “forget the Lord your God” on three different occasions. He reminds them of His provision – the fact that the reason they have plenty of money and have been able to build houses to live in, the reality that their herds and flocks were multiplying – all of that was because God had provided that. They did nothing under their own power.

He reminds them of His protection – that it was Jehovah God that brought them out of the wilderness with serpents, scorpions and drought being thrust upon them. He brought water from a rock when they were thirsty. All of this came at God’s hand.

He assures them that there is a payoff if they forget the Lord…that payoff is “you shall surely perish”. That’s about as serious as it gets. So, not only do I need to continue to honor God with everything He has blessed me with, but if I don’t, the consequences are severe. That should serve as all of the incentive that I need.

However, God does not desire that ultimately our stewardship is the result of fear. Good stewardship comes best from a heart of thanksgiving, a heart sold out to God. When we have an intimate love relationship with God, we desire to honor Him with our lives, return the first and best of our resources and talents to Him and are at our best when we are not holding things back for ourselves.

It is a process to get to this place of submission. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it can be something we have to be reminded of periodically. It’s not just about our habits and behaviors, either. It’s about our understanding and our heart’s engagement. The world says “I own it, I do with it what I want.” The Bible says, “It’s Yours, God, how do You want me to use it?” Here are three truths that put us on a path to Biblical stewardship:

  1. Belief determines behavior – our behaviors always follow our belief system. It’s pretty simple, really. I pray multiple times daily because my belief system is shaped by God’s Word which says I’m to “pray without ceasing”.
  2. Priority determines perspective – Once our belief system is God-honoring, then our view of life and resources will be God-honoring as well. My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and if I submit to Him, He will give me exactly what I need, and then some. When I don’t receive what I think I should, there is always a God-honoring reason.
  3. Comprehension determines contentment – Too many times we look at life with a temporal perspective rather than an eternal perspective. I’m trying to manage my resources to best fit my perceived needs today and for the future that I can see. God is managing resources based upon an eternal perspective. My submission to Christ today can affect those around me, who then can affect those around them. If I keep “ownership” of my time, talent and treasure to myself, I can restrict the work of God and the “ripple effect” to those around me.

At the beginning of 2018, you have opportunity to make some changes, to do some evaluations, which can positively affect the year you have and your impact for the Kingdom of God. Our perspective on this affects our own personal life, our family, and it affects our church even more than we can realize.

Acknowledge that God owns it all. Surrender control of all resources to Him – after all, isn’t it clear that sovereign and omniscient God knows best? Our only responsibility is to be obedient. Will you join me in that pursuit in 2018?

Blessed,

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Palestine, TX

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