Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stewardship by Jirafa

Stewardship is taking responsibility of the things you have been given or put in charge of. Some examples of things in my life that I am responsible for are the dishwasher, my room, my bird, and the money I earn. All of these things are my responsibilities and privileges, but they really belong to God. In this essay, I will talk about three areas of my life in which I can be a better steward – money, time, and possessions.

I wake up every morning and do my morning routine, which includes making my bed, making sure my room is clean, taking care of my bird, and emptying the dishwasher. By doing the dishwasher, I earn a commission of .50 per day. I also earn money by doing other things such as yard work for my parents or neighbors, taking care of my sister while my mom does other things, and this year I had a business selling Christmas wreaths. I give 10 percent of my earnings to the church as a tithe. Sometimes I also give an offering, which is when a person gives more than their tithe. One way I can be a better steward with money is to learn how to increase it, and so be able to afford to give more and save more for important things in my future. Matthew 25: 14-30 tells the Parable of the Talents, where three servants each received a sum of money from their master who was going away on a trip. Two of them used the money wisely, and one did not. I would like to be like the two who used the money wisely and heard the master say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” I want to be faithful in a few things so that God can put me in charge of more.

In my study about stewardship, I also read scripture about how God feels about the things he trusts us with and what we do with them. He is interested in much more than just what we give to the church. He is interested in how we spend our time, and whether we spend it diligently or foolishly. He is interested in whether we take responsibility for our actions or if we do not. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” I know I do not always use my time wisely, because sometimes I dawdle when I'm supposed to be doing my schoolwork. And sometimes I spend more time playing than I spend taking care of my responsibilities or reading God's Word. Colossians 3:23 tells me to work with all my heart as unto the Lord, not for men. If I would obey that command, I would be a better steward of my time.

A way I can be a better steward of my possessions is by remembering that they belong to God and not to me. I should treat God's things the way He would have me treat them. One example is my bird. I feed him, keep his cage clean, and take him out to play with him and give him exercise. Another example is food. I can be a better steward of food by only taking as much as I can eat, and by putting food away when I have finished. That way the food will not spoil. I also want to make sure to eat only healthy things so that my body stays healthy, as the Bible says that my body is God's Temple. In that way, my body is a possession that I need to be a good steward of.

This study of stewardship has been very good for me. I now have goals of how I can be a better steward for God, and I hope to accomplish them so that my life will be pleasing to the Lord.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

His Eye is On the Sparrow

Every year we have a little family of sparrows that nests in a hanging basket on our back porch. It's really fun, and I've wondered if it's the same family group year after year? I should do some research on that...

It always happens like this: Lush, beautiful ferns go on sale, and I buy 2 immediately. I hang them on the back porch - taa daa! I'm ready for spring. Then, a few days later, it freezes. And I forget about the ferns. I bring them in too late, and the damage is already done. I hang them back out, hoping that I can revive them, but no. I finally decide to throw them away and start over, and when I take them down there is a nest in one. So, of course, I cannot replace that plant! I carefully try to keep it watered and leave the nest alone, meanwhile the plant itself dies a slow pitiful death. Well, this year I decided to "mask" the nest-bearing plant, because it is in the worst shape of all of them thus far. I bought 2 more ferns, and hung one in front of the nest-bearing plant on the same hook. Out my kitchen window, I can see mama bird sitting on top of her nest, and the pretty plant hanging on the other side gives her a prettier backdrop than the dead plant she's in.

Last night I brought in the pretty, green, living, ferns because it was supposed to freeze. OH, it was so so hard to leave the dead plant with the baby birds outside! They hatched a few days ago, and I was so worried about them in the cold. But there was nothing I could do... if I brought them in, the mama would be worried sick. Where would she go all night? She might even reject them when I put them back out in the morning if she didn't die of a heart attack in the night (I don't know if birds do that, but my own mind gives them human thoughts & emotions). Through the night the pathetic little plant hung there, and mama & babies kept each other warm. This morning, after she left to find food, I took a peek just to make sure they were okay, and a little eye peeked back at me!

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV)

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whether You Eat or Drink

Yesterday marked the meeting of a new challenge for our family as we avoid all grains and sugar... The Lord's Table with our church consists of unleavened bread and grape juice, aka grain and sugar! What to do? Well, I made our own! Using almond flour, eggs, carrots, ghee, and a little honey, I made our bread. And since there really was no way for me to ferment grape juice (reasonably), I made ginger tea & then cooled it down. We took our bread in a little baggie, and bottled our drink so it wouldn't spill. When the time came, my husband passed some bread to each of us and then we poured our drink into a cup which we shared. The ginger had much the same effect as the grape juice typically does; a little "bite" that reminds us of Christ's work on the cross, taking on the punishment for our sins. It made me consider, that if Christ can do that for me, I can certainly make it through this diet for my son.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)