I was driving home from a beach vacation with my three sons. We were zipping along Interstate 20 just outside of Jackson, Mississippi. We were making good time when suddenly my car completely lost power in a fairly sketchy part of the city. Cars flew around me on both sides as I merged toward the right lane to try to exit as soon as possible.
Internally, I was “talking myself down from the ledge” – trying not to panic – and breathing a prayer as we crossed the lanes. I took the first exit and coasted downhill. Thankfully, the stoplights were green as I eased into the first gas station. I had no idea what was wrong with my car.
I changed my little one’s diaper, got drinks for my sons, and told the attendant what happened.
“Well, it sounds like your alternator,” he said. “Lucky for you, AutoZone is right there.” He pointed across the street.
The store had the part in stock, but it would have to be installed. It was after 5 p.m. on a Friday, and the employees didn’t know anyone available at that time to fix it.
About then, the door opened and a man walked in whom they all seemed to know. They assured me that he could take care of the repair, and I’d be on my way. So, for less than $300 including the part, I got everything fixed and headed back to the interstate.
I knew God had me and my boys. He had shown me that over and over. That day, though, He showed me all over again in a brand-new way. I could trust Him – every single time.
Much of my relationship with God has centered on the question He seemingly poses to my heart in a variety of ways. The question is, “Do you trust Me?” He whispered that question the day the alternator went out, but He’d already asked me many times before. And I know He’ll ask me many times again.
He longs for us to depend on Him in every part of who we are: spirit, body, and mind. That brings us to three principles of stewardship that might surprise us:
1. Stewardship is about much more than money. Our relationship with money reveals our heart. If you’re able to give God your money, then you likely will be able to give Him your time, resources, and relationships.
When we look at stewardship in the Bible, it is about the position of our heart, not the placement of our wallet. The Bible says that where we put our money is a good indicator of what is most important to us. Matthew 6:21 (NIV) reads, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So, where are you spending your money? Does money give you a sense of security? After all, money can disappear quickly. If your trust is in it instead of in God, you likely will feel fear or anxiety if you perceive you don’t have “enough.”
2. Stewardship isn’t about giving a certain percentage. Our capacity to give indicates our capacity to trust God.
When I buy a meal for my child and give it to him to eat, it’s because I know he needs it. It will nourish him and satisfy his hunger. It’s provision. We both know where it came from. It’s 100 percent mine, and it’s 100 percent his. I could overpower him and take it from him, but why would I?
However, if his sibling comes up to him and asks him to share, I fully expect he will do so without complaint. If my child trusts me, he has no reason to fear that he won’t have enough when he shares it. He can give, and rest, knowing that I am both for him and for his brother at the same time. This principle is found in the Scripture, “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it unto me” (Matthew 25:40, paraphrased).
If my child were to turn to his sibling and offer his entire meal, you’d better believe I’m going to get him another one, and it’ll be his favorite.
3. Stewardship is all “flow.” When I open my hands, others can get what they need and I’m in a position to accept what God has for me.
When we hold our money tightly, our fists are clenched. That also means there’s less space for God to pour in His blessings. It’s like a faucet. The more it’s open, the more comes out. The supply isn’t limited; how far we turn the valve determines the pace of release.
Similarly, God’s supply isn’t limited. We set the valve. If we are willing to let Him pour through us into others, our valve is open, and the supply keeps up with the demand.
So, do you trust Him? That is the key question of stewardship.