Good stewardship is a personal responsibility

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.” Luke 14:28-30 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Good stewardship is a matter of personal responsibility”
Last week I placed an order for a new truck. (I have a 3-4 month wait while the factory builds it). Considering what I wrote yesterday about material wealth and spiritual poverty, do you think I’m being hypocritical? Why would I need a new truck? Am I being a good steward of the financial resources the Lord has entrusted me with? Should this even be a spiritual concern? This is actually an important issue for all of us because whether you realize it or not, in some manner, you are faced with the same questions.
Let me say first that this was not an impulse purchase. It took a couple of years of thinking, praying, and planning. We did our research, saved our money, took good care of our two existing vehicles so they would be valuable trade-ins, and when we found the right deal, we made our move. Also, Linda and I make it a point to purchase quality vehicles. We take good care of them and then we keep them for a long time. And since that is true, since we do take good care of them and keep them a long time, and since I’m about to turn sixty-eight, this is possibly the last new vehicle I will ever purchase.  
So, does that sound like good financial stewardship? Does it sound like we practiced good planning and delayed gratification? I hope it does because that is what we tried to do, and it is the kind of planning and delayed gratification Jesus refers to in Luke 14:28-30.
One of the matters of personal responsibility God has revealed to us in the Bible is the issue of financial stewardship. There are approximately 2,350 verses in the Bible which refer to money and possessions. Almost 15% of what Jesus said in the Gospels was related to stewardship. 16 of His 38 parables were about money and possessions. We are to live modestly; be generous; bless others; financially support the work of the church; and provide for our families.
But since using our money wisely and in ways that honor the Lord is obviously so important to God, it begs the question about how much is okay to spend on ourselves. Is it okay to buy a new truck, or to live in a big home, or to spend money on an Alaskan cruise? Couldn’t that money be better spent feeding starving children in Africa, or supporting missionaries, or printing Bibles, or a hundred other more “spiritual” uses? What does it look like to faithfully practice the stewardship principles taught in the Bible, while living a normal life in middle-class America?  
Hold onto that thought. We’ll come back to it tomorrow. In the meantime, spend some time thinking and praying about the resources God has blessed you with, and how you are using them.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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