Effective Stewardship

Tenant Farmers With a Short-term Lease

Ken Williams

Each year near the end of October, the music ministry of our church sponsors “Keyboard Praise,” a program featuring ten grand pianos and the organ. Selections include everything from Southern Gospel to classical literature. There is something on the program for almost every musical taste!

One of the all-time favorites which we present each year is “Gospel Travelin,” a collage featuring “On the Jericho Road,” “I’m Just a Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger,” “I Am Bound for the Promised Land,” and “This World is Not My Home.”

Although many people act, live and spend as though that last title isn’t true, the fact is that all of us are what a good friend in Texas once described to me as “tenant farmers with a short-term lease.” This world is not our home. We really are just “passin’ through.” As those who have been redeemed by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our permanent residence is in heaven.

That realization has a definite bearing on our view of finances, material possessions and giving. Joe Battaglia, Vice President of National Sales and Promotion for Communicom Corporation of America, wrote in A New Suit for Lazarus:

One important perspective we’ve lost is that of the vagrant faith: to be given everything, yet own nothing. . . .Being a vagrant contradicts the notion of acquiring things for personal comfort or ownership of those things. . . . Paul emphasized that having little or much money isn’t what makes one rich or poor. Rather, it’s the degree to which we conform to Jesus and understand that God will honor those who recognize that all they own is God’s to use for His purposes. Jesus’ definition of poverty was not about one’s material or economic condition, but about one’s mindset.

That’s why the basic premise underlying the entire “Effective Stewardship” program is that which is expressed in Psalm 24:1 – “The earth is the Lord’s.” It all belongs to God. As managers and stewards, we own absolutely nothing. Our role is to oversee and look after that which belongs to another. Once we understand and accept this truth, it will change our entire lifestyle as every spending decision takes on eternal and everlasting ramifications.

Remember, we are managers and stewards, not owners — “tenant farmers with a short-term lease.”

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