DEVOTION – Stewardship
“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
“Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.” (Genesis 39:6)
It is a strange course on which the Lord led Joseph. At home, he was living the good life. He was his father’s favorite, a dreamer in the coat of many colors. From that high position he found himself at the bottom of a cistern, thrown in there by his jealous brothers. Then he found himself sold into slavery, headed for Egypt.
Life in Egypt certainly had its ups and downs. His first stop was the home of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and a captain of the guard. Joseph was purchased by Potiphar as a slave and put to work. Yet, we don’t find Joseph grumbling about his servitude. Instead, the Lord was with Joseph and he was a faithful worker in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar took note of how faithful Joseph was and entrusted all into Joseph’s hands. Joseph was a steward—a manager of someone else’s home and possessions. And he was a faithful steward.
Like Joseph, we too have been “bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) While the Bible doesn’t tell us how much Potiphar paid to take possession of Joseph, we do know what it cost God to purchase us. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) It cost Jesus everything—His very life—to purchase you for God and make you a member of His household.
Now what? Now that we have been purchased for God and made members of His household, now that we know God’s Son is preparing a place for us in the heavenly house of our Father, now what?
Like Joseph, God has put many things into our care as managers of His possessions. Our physical and mental abilities are gifts from Him. The time God has given us on this earth is a time of His grace to learn more about Him, tell others about Him, and serve one another in love.
And what about our finances? “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8) All the money of the world belongs to the One Who created it. And the great Banker of all creation has entrusted some of it to your care. Whether it is a monthly allowance, a salary check, an investment return, an inheritance, or a Social Security check, it can all be traced back to the Father of Lights. He is the One Who opened His hand and entrusted these things to your care through parents, employers and the ability to work, a favorable investment market, or the government.
Knowing from Whom every good and perfect gift comes, we want to be good stewards of those gifts, like Joseph. First, we want to give back to the Giver through our thank offerings. Knowing our Father has given us His best, even His own beloved Son, we don’t want to give Him our financial leftovers after we’ve gotten everything we wanted out of our money (actually, His money). Rather, confident that our Father will supply all our needs, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.” (1 Corinthians 16:2) Like Joseph, let us not grumble about this stewardship but give gladly and cheerfully, knowing that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
From there the stewardship of the finances God has entrusted to us extends to the care of our family (1 Timothy 5:8), the care of our neighbor (1 John 3:17), paying our taxes (Romans 13:6-7), and, yes, even for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). In all things, may the Lord help us to be faithful managers like Joseph, remembering the high price that was paid to bring us into God’s household and make us heirs of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Nathan Pfeiffer is pastor of Berea Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.