Are You Listening?

by

Communication is always a hot topic at management seminars and for consultants that relentlessly try to convince me they can improve our ministry. Having several years of experience in what is known as “cold calling” in a sales-type industry, I patiently wait to hear the sales pitch, and then I politely say, “no thank you.” How many times has this happened to you with sales people? Sometimes, they just don’t seem to listen. In fact, they are trained not to listen to your negative response and to continue pushing for the sale.

The fundamental concept that leads to effective communication is good listening. This is true of walking with Christ on a daily basis as well. As we begin studying the hard sayings of the apostles and the obligations implied in them, we must remember that as Christians we are called to obey all commands in the Bible. Indeed, every command of Scripture is a requirement of God.

One such requirement is the concept of godly stewardship. I am not a pastor or a theologian, but as an ordained deacon in a Presbyterian denomination, I have been charged with the responsibility to help Christians understand the importance of biblical stewardship. Most churchgoers would agree that stewardship is one of the least talked about and one of the more difficult commands in Scripture to put into practice. Nevertheless, God is very clear about stewardship.

God commands us to be good stewards of everything He entrusts to our care. Jesus was clear in Matthew 25:14 when he talked about the parable of the talents. Notice the level of trust given to each servant in Jesus’ illustration in Matthew 24:14. The importance of this becomes clear in verse 25:20 when the master lashes out at the servant who just buried his talent. The servant tries to excuse his behavior by saying that he knows the master to be harsh, reaping where he does not sow. The point Jesus makes is to whom much is given, much will be expected.

So, what does this mean for us when we talk about stewardship? The relationship of the servant and master is analogous to the relationship between us and our heavenly Father who has graciously entrusted everything we have to our care. I encourage you to take that seriously and manage these gifts wisely. Be a good steward, support your church financially, spend your money wisely, and obey God’s command, and He will be pleased.

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