Last week I looked at what I called 'Mine-ism' - the temptation to look at possessions as mine. I own them, they are mine. Because I view them as mine, it is up to me to determine what I do with them. I build what Scott Rodin refers to as my kingdom. But there is really only one kingdom - and that is God's kingdom. Everything comes from God - even my life and the very breath I breathe. The result is therefore two-kingdom living - mine and God's.
I recently read a short article by E,G, 'Jay' Link, that illustrates this duality of living. I have included portions of this article here.
GENEROUS GIVER or OBEDIENT COURIER?
"Over the past few years, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the term generous giving. In spite of that, I personally like the term. both the words generous and giving are used in scripture, albeit not in the same place very often (Psalm 37:21, James 1:5). However, as I continue to try to personally embrace and consistently apply the concept of biblical stewardship One kingdom living (italics mine) in my own thinking and life, the use of the term generous giving has been creating in me more and more uneasiness. Here's why.
If someone labels a man a generous giver, it seems to imply two things about that man: (1) what he gives is his to give and (2) he decides how much to give (making him generous). Within the context of biblical stewardship, however, both of these implications would be at the least, misleading if not patently incorrect.
Let me make this point by asking you a question. Is it appropriate to describe a person as a generous giver if what he is giving is not his to give in the first place? Let me frame the question to be even more personal. ‘Would you describe a man as a generous giver if what he was giving away was, (unbeknownst to you), coming out of your personal checking account and not his own?’ I suspect you might have a few descriptive terms for him, but generous-giver would not be one of them.
Consider this hypothetical scenario. Imagine a very rich man decides to give his nephew $1,000,000 in cash. He calls his nephew and informs him that he is mailing him a certified letter with a cashiers check in it for $1,000,000 and the check will be arriving tomorrow. The next day the door bell rings and there before the nephew stands the postman. The nephew can barely contain himself as the postman asks him to sign for the letter. The postman hands the young man the envelope. The young man bursts forward grabbing the postman in an enthusiastic embrace, gushing with thanks at how generous he is and how much the nephew appreciates his kindness for giving him such a generous gift. He repeats over and over again, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, you are so generous’.
Now what is wrong with this picture? The truth is the postman did indeed give the nephew a cashiers check for $1,000,000. What is wrong is that the postman is getting all the acknowledgement and appreciation for making a gift that he merely delivered for someone else. He was in reality nothing more than the individual charged with the responsibility of delivering the gift to the proper person. I suspect the postman would have likely been quite surprised by the nephew’s response for simply making a normal delivery as part of his routine duties.
Do you see the point? If we are merely stewards (managers) of our Master’s property and not the owners, then nothing is ours to give away in any amount. And if our Master, the owner, instructs us to deliver someone a gift from His abundance of which we are caretakers, then we are really being nothing more than an obedient steward commissioned to make the delivery to the designated recipient as instructed by the Owner.
In Luke 17:7-10, Jesus says "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded of you say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done'.
No matter how much we ultimately deliver of God's resources to the intended recipients, would the description of generous giver ever be appropriately applied to us because, 'we have done only that which we ought to have done?'
Maybe instead of using the term generous giver, it would be more appropriate to use the term obedient courier."
President, Stewardship Ministries
or am I a river doing only what He asks me to do?