This is it. This is the time of year when the buzzwords “gratitude” and “thankful” are in every post and on every coffee mug. There is a really good reason for that; Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A day dedicated to focusing on our blessings. We are so grateful for our families, our homes, our friends, our health, etc.
The concept of gratitude and how to steward gratitude has been weighing on me a lot lately. A dangerous attitude can develop as we (with the best of intentions) turn out gaze to all that we are blessed with. We start to feel like we earned all that we have; those things we are thankful for become the fruits of our own labors. When we start to take the credit for what God has given us, we begin to balance on a very thin beam. On one side is pride, and on the other is striving. One swift gust of wind from the enemy will quickly knock us into one or the other if we are not planted firmly in the true source of the gift.
When we begin to take the credit for our blessings, we begin to shift the focus off of the free gift of salvation, freedom, and adoption from God and onto our own abilities. Once we take the credit, we then must strive to maintain all that we have. The thing is, God did not intend for us to strive, but to thrive.
Thriving comes from accepting the gift for what it is, a gift. Have you ever given someone a present and they immediately try to pay you for it? It cheapens the moment and turns the gift into a loan for future work or a reward for past efforts. The blessings of God for His children are a gift, not something to be earned. Do not cheapen the gift of salvation by trying to pay God back for it.
So what do we do with the gift? We steward it well.
When I was thinking about this idea of stewarding a gift well, I was reminded of the very first devotional God ever laid on my heart to write for my very first group of Faithful Fitness ladies.
“When you buy a new car, you baby it. You don’t want anything to get it dirty. The gas tank never gets below a half tank. I remember when I first got my license, I swore to never eat in my car, never let it get muddy, and to never find out what that “gas light” looked like. Since then, it’s been 11 years. Now when my cute little 16 year old girls on the dance team get their license, I hear them give the same spiel. I just grin and sit back in my wisdom because in that 11 years, life has happened. That car became literally, a means of transportation, getting me from one busy aspect of my life to another. In between point A and point B, the gas light became an old friend and French fries found their way under the seats.”
I had no idea eight years ago that I was writing about stewardship. God started laying the foundation for that lesson way back then. Isn’t God fun?
Stewardship is what you do with the gift. In the example of the car, say you were given a car as a gift for your birthday. You do not immediately ask how much it cost so you can pay the giver back, you determine in your heart to take care of the car to show the giver how much you appreciate it.
We steward good gifts by using them well, not by paying for them.
Steward the blessings of God in your life well. Tell others what He has done for you. Take care of the fruits of those gifts.
I challenge you to this:
Make a list of all that you are grateful for. Many people are doing this anyway right now. Now, take it one step further and ask yourself, “how can I take good care of that gift? How can I use it well and turn the focus back on the giver of that gift, Jesus Christ?”