How To Avoid Being A Shrewd Steward

How to avoid shrewd stewardship

Daily Spirit & Word: 778: How to AVOID Being Shrewd Steward.

Don’t Let Money Be Your Master.

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

Good morning my friends. You know the feeling you get when someone says something about you, behind your back, but somehow you get to hear about it? It feels horrible to think that people are thinking negatively about you. Well I had that a few years ago, and I didn’t realise that it had stuck with me. At the time I ignored it, but it got under my skin and into the core of my being. That’s the way RESENTMENTS build within us. What was it that someone said? They said, “Donald doesn’t understand money”… I can tell you now, honestly, that hurt. However, it’s not true. I do understand money, I just don’t want to be controlled by it. The LORD has set me FREE from care or worry about MONEY. Praise HIM for that. So I’m sure the LORD is right, the people of this world are more shrewd regarding worldly wealth than I am, but I don’t care, because the LORD owns the Universe and He’ll give me what I need, when I need it, right on time, every time. Trust the LORD with your finances and He’ll take care of the rest. Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. When you do, He’ll OPEN the floodgates of Heaven into your life.

In Luke 16:10 right in the middle of the parable of the Shrewd Steward (Manager of the household).

Luke 16:10 (NIV) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

As many of you know by now, I’m a bit of a wordsmith, I love looking into the meanings of words. Sometimes I’m surprised by my investigations, take the word ‘shrewd’ as an example. We probably all think we know what shrewd means, right? But when we think about it in light of this Parable in the Bible, we’ll see that being a ‘shrewd’ person is far from a praiseworthy accolade, because shrewdness is being totally self-serving rather than serving God or others.

Shrewd:  1. Marked by practical hardheaded intelligence. 2. Serving one’s own interests in an unemotional, analytical manner.

Other words that can be used (synonyms); astute, calculating, calculative, conniving, savvy, scheming, sharp, smart.

Shrewdness: Intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings).

Here’s one I uncovered: perspicaciousness. Perspicacious: 1. Acutely insightful and wise. 2. Mentally acute or penetratingly discerning.

Shrewd Steward:

You’ll know the Parable and what Jesus said about the Steward (Manager of the Master’s Household).

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

The Manager (Steward) was about to loose his job because he was not a good manager (Steward) of the Master’s household. Instead of working harder to serve the Master better, he began to serve himself (shrewdness), he made friends of the people who owed his master money by letting them off the hook and taking only a fraction of what they owed and giving it to the master. He cooked the books in order to feather a nest for himself when he eventually lost his job.

Each transaction amounted to very little, but when all calculated together, the Master would have a massive shortfall. However, the SHREWD STEWARD would be seen to be a ‘nice’ man in the eyes of those who’d been helped out of debt.

We also know that the STEWARDS Jesus was aiming this Parable at, like a bolt in a crossbow, were the Pharisees. They were the Stewards in charge of God’s Household (The Temple and the People of Israel), but they were NOT being good stewards. They valued wealth, riches, rich people were given preference, they showed favouritism to the rich, they were feathering their own nests, rather than leading all of the people back to God and to Godly ways of living. Jesus had very stern words for them at the end of this Parable.

Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)
13  “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
14  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
15  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

The Pharisees were being very SHREWD: calculating, cunning and crafty in their dealings with men. However, they didn’t give the Master (God) a second of thought. So Jesus is warning them at this point, they are the SHREWD STEWARDS (Household Managers) who are about to loose their positions of trust.

My friends, money is not evil, but your money, what you own and possess is a TEST or a GAUGE of your FAITHFULNESS to God.

When I served on a submarine, we’d have gauges for all kinds of things, some to measure pressure, some to indicate levels in tanks. The water tanks and fuel tanks needed to be monitored and kept watch over at all times.  Just one glance at a gauge and you’d know the level of the liquid inside the tanks.

In your life God uses the wealth and MONEY He’s given to you to GAUGE your level of faithfulness, commitment or spirituality.

You might declare “I’m not interested in money” (So God can’t accuse me of being an unjust Steward or a Shrewd Manager).

Well here’s a shocker for you, God IS INTERESTED in how you use your money.

You cannot SERVE BOTH: God and Money.

Why? Because your are going to LOVE the one and hate the other.

  • If you love money, then it’s like hatred towards God.
  • If you love God, then it’s like hatred towards Money.

So your Heavenly Father God will use whatever MONEY you’ve been entrusted with as a GAUGE to monitor your faithfulness to HIM (The Master).

When God looks at how you’ve used your money, will He see a FULL or EMPTY indicator?

Remember you cannot serve BOTH… i.e. there’s no in-between measurement. It’s either FULL ON for God or Empty.

If your trusting in God with your finances, then you are going to LOVE God’s ways of dealing with money and you’ll hate the worlds ways. You’ll be set free from worry about money. You’ll use money to serve God’s purposes in your life and wait for it, God Himself has promised to OPEN up the floodgates of Heaven into your life. If you bring into His storehouse what belongs to Him.

What’s God asking for?

It all belongs to HIM anyway, but He’s trusting you with it all: 100% Trust. Now He asks for you to give back to Him a portion of what He’s given you. That’s the TRUST element. He asks for a starting proportion of only 10%, then He’ll also move you to give generously to others and bring even more gifts to offer to Him. This is KINGDOM FINANCES and when you trust God with all your money, He’s going to set your completely FREE from worry, fears, temptations etc.

So, my advice would be:

  • STOP trusting in MONEY,
  • START trusting in God.

You know when you begin to really trust in God financially, you are going to be so on fire with LOVE for Him and for all His Kingdom priorities and values. God reveals His secrets to those who love HIM. You finances are God’s GAUGE to measure how much you really love and trust Him.

Jesus said so much about money, He spoke much more about money than He did; Heaven, Healing or Hell. Why? Because Jesus knew how this world ticks over every single day. He knows you think you need money to survive, but He’s got all the resources you’ll ever need, much more than you can even imagine, if you’ll just trust in HIM.

When GIVING is Tough: Kingdom Freedom Finances.

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
41  Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

If you are feeling strapped for cash at this moment in your life, believe me I’ve been there. It’s really, really hard to trust the LORD when you’ve got five kids to look after and you’ve just taken a pay cut from £25,000 a year to less than £12,000 and still try to give every week to God. For the first few years of ministry, serving the LORD, I struggled financially too. Then one day, through tears and crying out to the LORD a little miracle happened in my life. I’d started resenting the LORD, but He’s just so good, so kind, so generous and faithful. It took me to my knees to really cry out to Him.

If it looks bleak for you at this moment in time, financially, know this my friends, TRUST the LORD financially, keep giving to Him and He will suddenly open the floodgates into your life in ways you can’t imagine. Think about how much the poor widow really trusted the LORD with her finances, she put into the offering all she had to live on. ALL SHE HAD! That’s 100% giving to the LORD. That’s TRUST. However, the LORD isn’t asking for 100% from you to start with, not 50%, not 20%, but He’s only asking for just 10%… That’s awesome! That’s Kingdom Freedom Finances. All I can say is try it! You’ll see! He’ll set you free.

HOW TO GIVE TO THE LORD!

Bring in your 10% to start with into your local church to which you belong and you are a committed member. It’s not the church you are giving to, it’s God. Don’t give it to charity outside the church (this kind of charitable giving (offerings) is in addition to your Christian committed giving to the LORD’S family in the local church).

Some people say, “Oh I don’t give 10% to my church because I give to charities as well”… Well my friends, you are robbing God. You don’t get your shopping at ASDA and pay TESCO do you? You don’t go to Morrisons and pay in Sainsburry’s do you? No! You pay where you get your shopping. My friends, your local church is where the LORD feeds you with God’s Word, Worship, Fellowship, Teaching, Evangelism, Kingdom Family Friendships and Ministry: Bring in the whole TITHE into the storehouse of God’s Kingdom Family. You giving to your local church is a TEST (Gauge) of your trust and commitment to the LORD. How much do you love the LORD? It will be shown by how much you give to your church.

Malachi 3:6-12 (NIV) KINGDOM GIVING (Tithes and Offerings).
6  “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
7  Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
9  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.
10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
11  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.
12  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

YOUR MONEY: From God, is His GAUGE of your LOVE, TRUST and FAITHFULNESS to HIM.

Don’t be a Shrewd Steward of what the LORD has trusted you with.

Are you feeling a bit dry ‘Spiritually’, then how’s your giving going? Are you holding back on God? Review your GIVING to the LORD today! Get on fire for Jesus.

Be one who LOVES and SERVES ONLY the LORD!

Jesus is the TRUTH: Know the Truth and the Truth will set you FREE.

Have an awesome week with Jesus,

Don.

 

The Dangers of Desiring Wealth

The Deceitfulness of Wealth

Daily Spirit & Word: 529: The Dangers of Desiring Wealth.

And The Biblical Secret of Contentment.

Good morning my friends. It’s FRIDAY: Praise the LORD Sunday’s Coming. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I’m going to share a teaching (Doctrine) from God’s Word today, that you will not hear or read about very often in society, in the world, in schools or colleges or even, sadly, in churches. Because it seems the whole world is given over to the pursuit of WEALTH. However, today we’ll see that far from giving us the freedom and peace and joy that it promises, God shows us today that it’s a deadly trap that will ultimately destroy us; IF we fall into it.

Instead of God’s teaching you’ll encounter endless messages encouraging people and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ alike to sow a seed and reap a harvest of wealth. Messages that foster a hunger for wealth and financial security and prosperity. My friends, we must first recognise a truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 8:20 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

I.E. Christ, whilst He was on the Earth possessed nothing. When He departed this life on earth to enter into Heaven, He left no great fortune behind, apart from a wealth of teaching entrusted to His Disciples that would transform the world.

But this teaching from God’s Word today will highlight or put a spotlight upon the very obvious dangers and terrors that await those who fall into the deadly, harmful and hurtful traps and snares set from them regarding the desire to get rich, be rich and stay rich.

Bible Focus:

1 Timothy 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. “

LACK OF CONTENTMENT:

First of all, If we start desiring to get rich, we’re showing or exhibiting a deep lack of contentment with our life. Also there will be an accompanying and steady decline in godliness (righteousnes, god-likenes, Christ-likeness).

As soon as we begin to desire wealth, to acquire more than we need, we’re on the slippery-slope into the traps set for the foolish people who’re unaware of what’s happening to them. The desire for wealth is a deadly deception. The ultimate end of those who continue on it’s pathway is a wandering from the faith and an even deeper discontentment in life. Don’t let SATAN or your own FLESH and the examples in the WORLD deveive you my friends.

Focus Verse: Verse 9:

I want to focus upon this verse today because the LORD has put it on my heart to show me what life is like for those who want to BE RICH and that I must STOP wanting more than I need:

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge (Baptize) men into ruin and destruction.” 1 Tim 6:9

 

What does the verse mean by “RICH”?

It is that position in life where we’ve got much more than we actually need to survive and thrive in this world. 

We’re DECEIVED into believing that RICH people are happy people:

  • They’ve got everything they need and more besides.
  • They’ve got freedom to do what they want, when they want.
  • They can have the best food money can buy.
  • They can have luxury furniture in their homes.
  • They can build a house to suit their particular desires or wants in life.
  • They can travel all over the world for pure enjoyment.
  • They don’t have to struggle in life.
  • They can stay in bed all day, every day if they want to.
  • They can afford the best doctors and medical treatments.
  • They’ve got it all COVERED.
  • They don’t have to worry about paying for the mortgage or rent.

“Oh” we think to ourselves, “They must be sooooo happy” and “How I’d like to be RICH like that”. Do you remember the pop-song in the 80s “I want your money, that’s what I want, I WANT YOUR MONEY” Well we don’t really want their money, we want the LIFE that we think money can buy, am I right?

Being rich is living is a state where we’ve got more than our necessary needs: If we’ve got food, clothes and a roof over our heads, then we’ve got what we NEED to enjoy life and be completely content. What more do we really need besides that? God is indicating that those who’re walking with Jesus will be completely content with having; food and clothing. I would add, because of our climate here in the UK, shelter, but the Bible tells us to add nothing to scripture or to take away from scripture; so let’s let it stand as it is: “Food & Clothing”… We’ve got ALL we need to survive and the freedom to be content.

WANTING TO GET RICH?: What does God say?

When we’re wanting / desiring to get rich we’re showing that God’s plan for us is not enough, we want more than our necessary needs. That’s the sin of greed my friends.

When people get more than they need what do they tend to do with it? They’ll waste it on more things they don’t really need. When people have got much more than they need, they’ll waste it on even bigger things than they could ever really need.

When people have got more than they need, they’ll also STORE IT UP, because they can’t use it all, the’ll find places to store it: Property, Investments, Insurances Schemes.

They’ll have private swimming pools: What’s that all about? They don’t want to share their water with the crowds, so they’ll build one just for them and their family. Instead, that money could be given to people who don’t have enough food or clothing.

They’ll have LuXury transport: More than they actually need, bigger, better looking cars. They’ve moved beyond practicality to beauty and style and elegance. It’s a way of showing off to the world that they’ve got LOTS of MONEY. Having flashy cars is a way of displaying opulence (Having more than you need and rubbing it in the faces of those who don’t).

What does our verse call that?

A FALL into Temptation.

It’s not like normal temptation; temptation is where you’re tempted to do or think something, but you have an ability to resist it. But when we’re desiring to get rich, we’re FALLING INTO TEMPTATION. What the passage is telling us is this my friends; when we’re tempted to get rich, we’re falling out of control, like a sky-diver who’s left the safety of the plan and plunged into the air with nothing at all to grab hold of. Or like a man out walking in the woods who’s fallen into a bear-pit once you’ve stumbled by “Desiring to get rich” your falling, falling, falling my friends.

But where do you fall into?

“Fall into temptation and a TRAP”

A trap is something you cannot escape from. You can’t get out of a trap. Picture a little rabbit caught with a snare around it’s little feet, there’s nothing the rabbit can do to escape. It tries with all it’s might and strength to get free, but it’s doomed for the dinner plate. Desiring to get rich is a a DEADLY TRAP my friends. Wanting more than you need will imprison you. Jesus said that when we LOVE money we’re serving a different MASTER: A Master is someone who’s got control of us. We’re definitely trapped when we desire to be rich.

“Fall into temptation and a trap and MANY FOOLISH AND HARMFUL DESIRES”

When you want to get rich you’re not just falling into the trap your also falling into many foolish and harmful desires. What are the desires of the rich? The foolish and harmful desires? Once you let go of God and fall into the traps of the rich, your desires will change. You’ll no longer want what God wants.

One of the foolish things about the RICH is an even bigger lack of contentment. When they get rich they’ll be looking for places to store their wealth. Because they’ve got much more than they need they will require somewhere safe to keep it from people who have nothing. So they’ll invest it in a Bank or in Shares or in Property: What does that produce? More MONEY, more to be worried about. So their treasure chest will get bigger and bigger and bigger, they’ll be more worried about their money than anything else in life. Why? Because they ‘rely’ on that money to keep them in luxury. Money becomes their god in whom they trust. But it’s also a Master and the Master’s Desires must be obeyed: So desiring to get rich is a form of idolatry. A desire to be trapped and tempted and kept in it’s grip. You’ll never be content when you get rich, because it will never be enough:

Harmful Desires: They’ll be so discontented that they’ll begin to desire the NEW THINGS. Having the novelties in life, the new things, the newest things. The sad thing about that is that once you’ve got the new thing, it’s no longer new and so the foolish thing, the trap is that you’ll be on a continuous cycle of buying novelty, but after a few days it’s novelty wears off and we want more. This is a total DISSATISFACTION with the tinngs in life. I watched a TV show the other day, about an Auction House in London, and the clients let the TV cameras into their homes and lives. Some of those people had so much, but they just wanted more, better, bigger glittering things. One lady said, “I saw it, so I just had to have it”….

PLUNGE INTO RUIN AND DESTRUCTION:

“Fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires THAT PLUNGE MEN INTO RUIN AND DESTRUCTION.”

What a powerful sentence of the bible this is: PLUNGE: The word for plunge is, BAPTISED. Look at the King James rendering of this same verse for a moment:

1 Timothy 6:9 (KJV) “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

It’s literally like drowning in the foolish and hurtful lusts of the flesh. You can’t breath when you’re drowning.

We always think the opposite of this verse don’t we? When people loose a great fortune, they often say, “I’m ruined”, but the reality is that they’ve just got their complete FREEDOM back again. Because the desire for wealth or to be rich is to be DROWNED and DESTROYED and RUINED.

We think that being RICH is such a noble thing to desire, but the reality is that God wants us to be free from the foolishness and the deceitfulness of wealth and the destructive things that come with being rich.

“THE DESIRE FOR WEALTH IS A DEADLY DECEPTION”

When you came into this world, you were naked, needed help, nourishment, warmth and care. Without this you wouldn’t have survived through infancy. As a toddler, your parents or guardians cared for you, provided for your need because you couldn’t; and you survived your toddler stage. As a youngster and teenager you were beginning to learn that you needed to work in order to benefit in this world, but still your loved ones provided for your needs. As an adult, you began to work and hopefully you’ve become convinced that God cares for your EVERY need in life: He provides for you in this world, so that you’ll always have just enough.

MONEY IS NOT EVIL:

Jesus didn’t say “money is evil”. It’s the LOVE of Money. When we’re desiring to ‘be rich’, we’re desiring to be independent of God or self-reliant or money-reliant. It’s then that money becomes our master, that’s when Jesus declared the following;

Matthew 6:19 (KJV) “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:”
Matthew 6:24 (KJV) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

If we’re in love with being rich and having more, we’re revealing a deep discontentment with our walk with Jesus. Our life is NOT full and abundant the way that Jesus wants. We need to get a reality check, a Biblical reality check on the condition of our hearts today. If you secretly or openly desire to be rich then you have already begun to fall my friends. Cry out and Jesus will SAVE you, Cry out before it’s too late.

God is not foolish with His wealth, He will never lavish wastefully upon you what you cannot possibly use for your needs and for His glory. Just like you, being a good parent, you wouldn’t give your child £/$10.000 pounds or dollars to visit a theme park or zoo. My friends, your Heavenly Father has promised to supply you with ALL that you need. But He’s encouraged each of us to seek as a much higher priority in our lives, His Kingdom, higher even than our own needs, because He’s showing us, He’s already taken care of them.

God isn’t saying it’s wrong to have things, but let’s just make certain that things haven’t gotten hold of us, that we’re not trapped by them. Could you give your stuff away? Could you give everything that you posses away to the poor who have nothing? Would you give it all away? That’s what Jesus encouraged a RICH young man to do in the Bible. Why? To show the man that he wasn’t as right with God as he thought he was. He was trusting in MONEY, but Jesus showed him that he needed to trust in God.

Your Heavenly Father LOVES YOU

He knows your needs and wants you to trust Him to meet them.

Matthew 7:7-11 7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Desiring to be rich is to fall into a trap that will snare you in such a way that it will be almost impossible to get out of. But it’s possible for the LORD to save you. Be contented with what you have and give thanks for everything. Be grateful and generous and give away more that you think you can. You need very little to live the ABUNDANT life that Jesus promised. You will have: food, clothing and shelter, but more than that and YOU ARE RICH, so use your riches in service of the Kingdom.

“When you DESIRE to BE RICH, you are FALLING into a DEADLY TRAP

Repent of your foolish desires, you’ve been deceived if you are desiring to be rich. It’s a DEADLY trap my friends. I wouldn’t walk past anyone who’d fallen into a bear-trap, I’d reach in a pull them out, that’s what God is doing today: He’s pulling people out of the TRAP OR SNARE of the DESIRE to be RICH.

Call upon Jesus now and let go of that foolish desire.

After you’ve called you’ll find the freedom to be content with your life, your world and your future will be secure. TRUST HIM with your everything again today.

Seek to serve Him with the riches that He’s already lavished upon you and then you will be trusted with much more.

Don.