Have you noticed you are seeing a lot of extra messages in the past several days? Whether on social media or even your inbox, these messages are intended to entice you to purchase more, then maybe, give some of it away.
It’s interesting that this advertising campaign follows the Thanksgiving holiday where Americans have a day to be thankful for all they have. Then Black Friday, which turns into a weekend event that culminates on Cyber Monday, is actually about getting more or updating what you already have. We are all encouraged to spend more and in many cases we are spending more than we are earning. It doesn’t seem to matter the cost, as long as we have the latest and the greatest. All the advertising encourages us to increase our standard of living.
Have you ever calculated how much of your income goes to living? In other words, how much is simply consumed. Typically 50% – 70% of what you receive goes toward lifestyle. Is it any wonder that so many struggle financially? Then comes Giving Tuesday, which is meant to help us re-focus to increase our standard of giving.
Sadly, we have typically increased our standard of living so significantly, there is not much left to increase our standard of giving.
There must be a better way and there is … it is called stewardship! The dictionary defines a steward as “a person who looks after someone on a ship, aircraft or train.” It is also defined as an official who supervises a public event, orone who manages or looks after another’s property.
So ask yourself, do you see all of your property as your own or do you see it as belonging to another? If you ask most followers of Christ, “Does God own it all,” the immediate response is “Yes, God owns it all.” Living that out can be quite challenging though, because if God truly owns what we possess, then we need to be consulting the owner when making our management decisions. We need to know the heart of the owner because all of our spending decisions are really spiritual decisions.
So considering that God is the owner of our finances and we are the stewards or managers of what has been entrusted to us, do you think the owner is pleased with our management? Consider the days that have just passed: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Which of those days do you think the Owner is most excited about? And which of those days are you as the manager most excited about? If the manager knows the heart of the owner, wouldn’t the manager and owner be excited about the same days?
This is exactly the point; we are to see ourselves as managers of what God has entrusted to us. Part of the reason the owner gives us so much is actually for our enjoyment, but our greatest task as manager is to know His heart. So as a popular christian song says, “break my heart for what breaks Yours.”
Here’s an interesting question: when you receive a pay-raise or bonus, what increases – your standard of living or your standard of giving?Maybe it is a good idea to put a cap on your living expenses; that way when increase comes, it can be more easily directed to your giving. If you are truly a steward, you will manage your financial affairs to please the owner, not necessarily to satisfy your own desires. Then the owner is pleased to entrust more for you to manage – more to be thankful for and more excitement to give than to spend.