A Different Kind of Stewardship

stewardship,health,ministryI’m not discussing money or finances in this post.  I also won’t be focusing on talents or spiritual gifts.  No, the type of stewardship that I’m talking about today affects all of those things but is also completely different.

Before we go any further, I think we should have an accurate definition of stewardship.  In Christian circles we almost always use it in reference to money matters.  By association, the word has become very finance centered when in reality the definition is much broader.  The Miriam-Webster Dictionary says “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something;especially :  the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” and I really like that definition; especially the last part.

God has entrusted a great many things to our care but the most precious of those is our very life.  How we care for ourselves, our health and well-being, determines in large part our ability to be a steward in other areas.  I have seen this firsthand in the last few weeks and it can be a hard lesson to learn.

When I am overly tired and not taking care to rest my body and my brain, everything else suffers.  I make mistakes at work.  Simple tasks take longer.  Writing becomes more difficult and my thoughts are harder to grasp.  And I am not the blessing to those around me that I should be.  In short, when I don’t take care of myself the ministry that God has entrusted to me is harmed and He is not glorified.

One of the biggest challenges to anyone in ministry is the challenge of giving of yourself completely to others while also taking adequate time to rest and recharge.  Burnout is a very real problem among those in the ministry and it is precisely because we often take better care of others than we do of ourselves.  And while God has called us to work and to serve He has also called us to be  good stewards of our minds and bodies; one is not more important than the other.  Neglecting either one is just as sinful.

We need to make time to rest.  We must make time to give our brains and bodies a break.  We can start by ensuring that we are getting enough sleep at night; seven and a half to eight hours should be a minimum goal.  And that’s just physical rest.  Mental rest and time for fun is equally important for our well being.  Scheduling vacations and using our off time to recharge our mental batteries needs to be a priority.

How about diet and exercise?  Despite being a discussion that’s probably been heard more often than we would like, it’s still an important part of our overall well-being.  Being a well rested person with a terrible diet who doesn’t get enough exercise is only going to cause us health problems sooner or later.  As I recently discovered through the Daniel Fast, we really don’t need most of the fat and sugar that most of us consume.  Small improvements in the areas of diet and exercise now can help ensure that we remain healthy in the service of the Lord for many years to come.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have several areas that need improvement in my effort to become a better steward of this life that God has given me.   The Lord needs us at our best each and every day and we can only give Him our best when we’ve properly taken care of ourselves.  Let us encourage each other to take care of ourselves and to be the best possible stewards of this life that God has blessed us with.



Who is Invited to Your House Today?

House of God,Holy Spirit, InfluenceOr do you not know that your body is the (house) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV)

Lately, I have been clued in to a very important fact.  As I began to understand this fact and make changes accordingly, my walk with the Lord has improved dramatically.  Would you like to know what this fact is?  Here it is:  everything that I put into my body has an influence on me.

This includes things like food and drink but also things that I see and hear.

There’s plenty of information available about the effects of eating a diet that is high in fat, sugar and processed food.  Hopefully we all realize by now that such a diet is bad for us and can cause serious long term damage to the bodies that God gave us.  If we eat better we will feel better; that much is known.  But that’s not entirely what this post is about.

Much less is being said about what we choose to see and hear on a daily basis.  As a 21st century person with internet access we have, literally, millions of choices in terms of what we will allow to enter our bodies through our eyes and ears.  And remember, everything we put into our bodies has an influence on us.

As we discovered last week, we are always in submission to something.  We either yield to our flesh and the old man or we yield to the Spirit and produce fruit.  Realizing this, we need to be very careful that the things that we see and hear are encouraging fruit production and not the glorification of the flesh.

Even some seemingly innocent things can be harmful to our walk in the Spirit if they are consumed too much or with the wrong attitude.  Here is an example from my own life:  From January until April of 2013 I read around three fiction books a week.  Being an avid and fairly speedy reader and working in a bookstore meant I had a lot of opportunity and access to all kinds of books.  I even started the year with the goal of reading 100 books; after all, reading is good for you, right?

My mind became filled with the worlds and the characters that I was reading about to the point that I often found myself thinking about the book I was reading or had just finished.  I began to examine the characters and situations in my head and relive my favorite parts.  My head got so cluttered with these things that pretty soon I was barely hearing God at all.  There was simply no room left for him because I was completely preoccupied with fiction.

These weren’t bad books in terms of morals or content.  Many of them were well written and contained some truly upstanding characters.  In short, it wasn’t so much the books themselves that were causing the problem.  It was the amount of them I was reading and how they were causing me to exclude my Lord from my thought life.  I needed more God and less fluff.  And  I believe there are many other Christians out in the world today who need the same thing.

I have a little notebook that I carry around with me so that when I get an idea for the blog or have something I need to remember I can quickly jot it down.  Not too long ago I wrote “the amount of love, joy and peace I experience is in direct proportion to the amount of time I spend with the Holy Spirit“.  To spend time with the Holy Spirit we must be in the right frame of mind and free of distraction.  To make sure we stay in the right frame of mind and live a life that is free of distraction we need to be very careful what we see and hear.  Tomorrow, we will take this idea a little bit further.

Are there any distractions in your life that you have had to cut out recently?   I would love to hear from you!