I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest. -Proverbs 3:9 CSB
In The Lord of the Rings, a character named Denethor has a title: the Lord and Steward of Gondor. A steward in these books is one who acts in a place of power for another such as a king, and can use some of the king’s rights and privileges in his absence. But it is temporary. A steward is merely holding the place until the true king arrives to take his rightful place, much like Prince John did for his brother King Richard in all the old Robin Hood stories.
The Steward of Gondor has a problem that many of us humans have: we think foremost of ourselves and our desires or what we deem best, and tend to reactively put those before others’ desires. A wise wizard named Gandalf warns Lord Denethor that: “there are other men and other lives, and time still to be.”
Later, the steward in his arrogance rhetorically asks: “May I not command my own servants?” He almost implies, “may I not do what I will with what I possess and command?” And Gandalf answers him: “You may. But others may contest your will…”
Like the steward, I think that I own and possess material objects such as my home, car, food, books, kitchen utensils, etc. As a child, my brothers and sisters and I (there were five of us) struggled with sharing foods that were our favorite. Cereal boxes sometimes came in mini sizes in a large package, and we would fight over who got which flavor, each of us vying for our favorites. Thankfully, one of my parents would come in and remind us to share not only to show love and kindness to each other, but also they would pull the parent card, the trump card of power and authority, and remind us that the cereal, as with all the food and everything in the house, was actually purchased by them, the adults, and rightfully belonged to them, not us. So we had no rights to the greediness or hoarding that we might be tempted to exhibit.
As Christians, we have no rights to what we consider “our” possessions over God’s will, and I’m thankful that the safety of those things is also not in our hands, nor the knowledge of what to do with it all and when or how. The righteous Father and owner of our possessions, our lives, our selves to whom we surrendered when we were saved, He can repurpose, remove, or readjust whatever in our lives He pleases, when and however He chooses. Job said: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) I have no right to be angry with God if He wishes me to loan something to someone who may never return it, or to give to those who I don’t see needing the thing I want to keep, whether it be money, time, or abilities.
Every single thing in my home, my home itself, every dollar in my bank account, and every relationship in my life, I am merely a steward of. The people in my life are not mine, not my spouse, children, parents, best friends—none are more mine than God’s. After I've done all I can, all God has called me to do for them, I’m thankful this means I can give them over to Him, to dole out good or bad consequences when things and they are out of my control, out of power to save, to help, to restore. Nothing and no one escapes His hands, and His judgements are perfect. Every person, skill, ability, and possession was given to us as a gracious, undeserved, unmerited gift by my gracious Father and Savior. He can take away anything He desires for whatever reason He deems fit (and because He is good, I can trust His reasons are good, even if beyond my comprehension). God can give more or less, and He can give these things over to help or be used by whoever else He wishes. He is the rightful King, Jesus the Heir and owner of all things (Heb. 1:2) I “possess.” This includes my own talents and: abilities. My time (work and rest), eyesight, hearing, creating and crafting abilities, my skills, my physical abilities to walk and jog and read—all are rightfully the possessions of the King of kings. Therefore I am to honor Him with each one of them. This should affect not only the way I relinquish them to Him to give away if and as He wills, but also affect my selection of things. What should I buy to eat, or to decorate “my” home or collect or save, or spend “my” time on working or playing or reading or watching? Would the King approve? Would He arrive and find me faithful? Is this the job, role, hobby, etc. that He desires for me, in this season of my life?
The steward of Gondor only holds a temporary title until the Return of the King (the book title and the event). When the king returns to Gondor to take up his rightful throne, the steward is so accustomed to having things his way for so long, to doing as he pleases with what he considers “his” possessions, with following his own wisdom and understanding (contrary to what Prov. 3:5-6 commands us), that there is tremendous conflict which ends in disaster.
We need to be ready and willing to obey God in whatever He calls us to do. We need to be faithful to continue doing what He has called us to previously, what we’ve committed to do, with our tithe, our talents, our skills, our people, and our possessions. While this might seem daunting, I am thankful it is actually a relief. Because it means that I am not responsible for the safety of these things; I can entrust them to the ultimate Protector and Defender and trust that whatever He allows to happen is for my best. I am also not responsible for having it all figured out, how and where and when to use these things, because I can trust the Author of my days to have a plan. All I need to do is willingly follow without complaint, with thankfulness. I am not the one who works things out for good, nor am I responsible for the result of things working out well. I am so thankful that pressure is on the One who always works everything out for good to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). I’m thankful that this also means that if I lose everything, even through no fault of my own, I do not need to scramble to get back what was lost. I can trust the One who gives and takes away to supply all my needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). If I don’t have it right now, and God won’t allow me to acquire it, then I don’t need it right now. I can trust His sovereign wisdom, not panic or worry or act desperately as the world pressures me to do. Everything I “have” or “possess” is a gracious gift from the Father, to use when, where, and how He wills, and He will tell me. And when I surrender and joyfully obey, He blesses. I’m thankful and relieved to be a steward, not a true owner or master, of anything or anyone in this life, including myself. All can be peacefully entrusted to the rightful Heir and Lord of all, the Maker of all things.
For more verses about this, read: 1 Peter 4:10, Titus 1:7, 1 Cor. 4:1-2.
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo
Bonney Block on June 22, 2021:
This is so true and very well written. It was a blessing to me!
Naude Lorenzo on June 17, 2021:
Excellent article, I could use this every day, God bless Amanda's mind