Handling the fruit of work (Part 2) - Stewarding verses hoarding
How are we to think about the fruits of our labour? In part one of this series we saw that it is ultimately not our own, but the fruits of our labour are good gifts entrusted to us by a good God. And gifts entrusted to us with a purpose. Not to hoard them, but to steward them well for the benefit of others.
Throughout the Bible we are warned about the corrupting nature of storing things up, hoarding what God has entrusted to us. “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is transient…I have seen a grievous evil under the sun; wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner” (Ecclesiastes 5:10. 13). Similarly in 1 Timothy 6:9, the Apostle Paul writes that, “people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction”. Hoarding is dangerous. It is destructive and harmful. The one who does it Jesus calls a “fool” (Luke 12:21)
Rather the Bible offers a better way. We are to be generous stewards of God’s possessions. We are to be a channel through which God’s good gifts flow. We are given “things” so that we might give them to others! The Apostle Paul writes, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11). In particular we are to be generous in order to serve others, benefit others, advantage others. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10). We are to be a channel through which God’s belongings flow rather than a cul-de-sac where they remain and stagnate.
The late English preacher John Stott provided a wonderful model of this to us. Stott insisted on living not just a "simpler" life, but a “simple” life, so as to free up as many gifts that God had entrusted to him for the benefit of others. And so every 12 months he would go through all the items in his house and give away anything that he hadn't used in the past year. "One way to decide whether we need something is to consider whether we use it, for we evidently don't need what we don't use".  Stott was a channel through which God’s belongings flowed.
So when it comes to giving, the question is not “how much”? Rather “How can I release more of God’s possessions into the world for the benefit of others?” Can you say to God honestly, “I am looking after your wealth well”?
 Roger Steer, Inside Story: The life of John Stott, 163.
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