Called to be Managers
Stewardship in how we manage all areas of life, even our shopping habits.
In the book written by the Kendrick brothers Defined: Who God Says You Are, it is beautifully written God's intentions of how we are to manage what He has provided for us: "God has given us the ability to farm land, build cities, advanced technologies, stop disease, leverage resources, recycle waste, communicate globally, and solve international conflict. He wants us to take advantage of and fully enjoy the good resources He's provided (1 Tim. 6:17; Isa. 65:21), while also balancing them with a sense of stewardship and preservation of the world that He owns and has entrusted to us (Ps. 24:1). Adam, for example, was not to trash the garden but to oversee it, work it, organize it, enjoy it, and keep it (Gen. 2:15; Eccles. 2:24-25)."
He wants us to take advantage of and fully enjoy the good resources He's provided...balancing them with a sense of stewardship and preservation of the world that He owns and has entrusted to us...not to trash the garden but to oversee it, work it, organize it, enjoy it, and keep it.
It saddens me when I see trash laying around instead of properly disposed of. It saddens me when I go grocery shopping and there are so many items wrapped in what will become trash. It then becomes my responsibility to think about the purchase I am about to make. Is there a better option available that does not have so much trash involved? My purchase also becomes a vote of what I want more of...trash is not one of them.
With our purchasing choices, it makes me consider where our heart currently is as it says in Matthew 6:21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." We make purchasing choices for many different reasons. Be it by an actual need such as food, water, shelter, or clothing. (Clothing "need" can actually become an out of control purchase of a "want" if we are not careful.) We also make purchases to "keep up with the Jones", to fill a void, or just out of mindless boredom for something to do. We tend to make purchases with a mindset that "if I purchase this it will make me happy, or help with this". Consequently the purchase high we feel then fades and we end up not even using the item purchase. It sits back in the closet, cupboard, or drawer in the dark collecting dust unused. It's purpose now having no value in our life except as a wasted resource of time, money, and space taken up.
I feel that if we tend to our hearts, are more aware of what causes us to make certain purchases in the first place, we can make better choices for ourselves and the common good of all. To oversee the resources that are available, work it, organize it, enjoy it, and keep it so nothing is wasted. To be good stewards of all that God provides us so we can hear as stated in Matthew 25:23, "‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’"
We need to be more mindful of our purchases. To help me achieve this I ask these questions before making a purchase:
Is there waste associated with this purchase?
Does this item have multiple uses?
Is this item of quality, is it going to stand the test of time and wear and tear?
Where was this item created?
What resources were used to create this item?
What happens to this item once its use is worn out? Does this item go to the landfill or can it be recycled or composted?
What is the upkeep and maintenance of this item? (Because time is a resource you can never regain, I don't want to waste it on maintaining an item because I value the hearts of people, just as my Heavenly Father does, not things.)
The best way to deal with matters of the heart and purchases being made is to learn the secret to being content in all matters of life, trusting you can do all things through Him that strengthens you for He is the ultimate provider of our needs. As Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
God's word warns us in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, "But godliness (our desire to see God's character reproduced in us) with contentment (our acceptance of God's will in our lives) is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
I believe those that "have wandered from the faith" have lost sight of God and focused on the wrong things in this world "and pierced themselves with many griefs" have lost and drown themselves into material possessions that lead to the pain, entrapment, and sadness of debt and maintenance of those items purchased.
Godly contentment must be a learned response as Paul shared in Phillippians 4:13 in order to live a free life as God intended for us as the managers of His possessions. When we are good managers, stewards, and servants for His glory we can live as it says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or proud nor to put their hope or trust in wealth, which is so uncertain and unreliable, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
God is the source of our wealth so be good managers and generous with what He gives. Enjoy and use it to advance His Kingdom. It is not for self-centered living, "not to trash the garden but to oversee it, work it, organize it, enjoy it, and keep it." Be a good steward in how you manage all areas of life, even your shopping habits.
Live a zero-wasted life for His Glory.