A while back I came across this interesting observation: before the year 1800, no product, no message, no idea could travel faster than a horse. Think about that for a moment. Geographic separation was an impenetrable barrier to quick communication. For we who enjoy instant communication with nearly anyone in the world, such a severe limitation is almost unimaginable. Cell phones, email, internet, jet planes – geographic separation is no longer an insoluble problem. But this has been reality for only a few seconds of our race’s history.
Consider what it was like for business owners in biblical times. Unless the owner lived within daily travel distance of his business – a handful of miles either by foot or by animal — he had to have someone on site to run his business for him. Travel and communication were too slow to allow the owner to have any say in the daily decisions. Absentee owners were common. They had to rely on a manager, a steward, someone they trusted completely to run their business as they wanted it run. The steward made all daily decisions on behalf of the owner. He was to best use the owner’s resources for the owner’s good.
That is the biblical concept of stewardship. God, the source of all that is, has entrusted some small portion of His property to us, His stewards. We are to manage His property as He would manage it.
For that reason, we must know God personally, thoroughly, intimately. How can we manage His property as He would manage it unless we know what is important to Him?
No business owner wants his or her precious resources wasted, and God is no different. But if you think penny-pinching and financial profit are the ultimate in biblical stewardship, you don’t know your Boss. He created all the physical universe with a word, out of nothing. He simply expressed His will, and the universe appeared.
Such a Being never runs short of resources. He has no need for more money. He could create such things with a word. If He needed them, He wouldn’t have to tell us.
So what is important to God? As His stewards, managing His resources as He wants them managed, we need to know.
More next time.