Monday, January 16, 2012

Some Practical Advice





Scripture

“Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance.
(Genesis 41:34 NASB)
“Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it.
(Genesis 41:35 NASB)
“Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.”
(Genesis 41:36 NASB)
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
(Luke 16:10 NASB)
“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?
(Luke 16:11 NASB)
“And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
(Luke 16:12 NASB)
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
(Luke 16:13 NASB)

Observation

It is amazing how we can find practical advice for living right in the word of God. Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh's dream and realized that the land was facing seven years of prosperity, followed by seven years of famine. In order for the entire world to be helped, Egypt was going to need to be prudent with her resources. She could not eat everything they produced, but rather, they needed to store up for the years that would lie ahead. How much were they to save? Not ten percent, but rather, twenty percent of everything that they raised went into the barns and storehouses for the future. Interestingly you would think they would only have had to save 1/7th each year for the coming years but that wasn't God's plan. They were to have more than enough for the years of famine to feed, not only themselves, but those who would come to them from other parts of the world that were suffering.

In Luke the Gospel writer records the words of Jesus as he reminds us that he is looking for good stewards. The Pharisees were wealthy people and they didn't like hearing Jesus talk about money, or how to manage money. Jesus wanted them to recognize that the resources that they had were not their own. There were to have used them for others, and in wise and prudent ways so that God could multiply their resourcefulness, just as he did for Joseph.

Application

The practical lesson is here for God's people. God's people are not supposed to treat money or resources the same way the people of the world are. Rather, we are to be stewards of everything that we may have and use it for God's glory. We are not supposed to be using everything that we have on ourselves. We are supposed to be saving and storing away so that when times of difficulty come we may be able to get through those days ourselves, and help others as well.

Too many of us are living on the very edge financially these days. Credit cards and debt have made it too easy to live an unrealistic lifestyle. However, as we've seen the last few years that house of cards is falling, or has fallen. Christians need to be an example to the world, that we follow God's word and God's leading when it comes to management of our resources. What would happen if we began to store away 20% of what we make and learn to simply live on less?

Joseph was able to impact the entire known world of his day because of his ability to manage well. He was God's steward. What would happen today if God's people were to be in such good shape financially that they could significantly impact the world? The world is hungry to find something that is "real" and that works in this day and age. Being good stewards in the kingdom reveals something unusual to the world, and becomes a reflection of his image to those that desperately need him. It's time to follow some practical advice.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to make good choices in the area of stewardship in my life. Amen.

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