What does it mean to be a good steward?

 Welcome back to another episode of the Milk and Honey podcast. I am so excited to talk about stewardship today because it is just the word that God has given me for the year. I know people say what’s your word of the year? This one has been pressing so hard on me this year. Towards the end of 2022, I was in a biblical leadership program and we were talking about the impact that the program had on us right at the very last week.

And I just remember ugly crying. I mean full on ugly cried during this call with these poor women talking about stewardship because the whole 16 weeks, we really talked about the way we are stewarding ourselves, the way we’re stewarding our relationships, our finances, our health, like all these things.

And even though that’s not the word that was used, that was the overall theme. How are you caring for the things that God has given you? And I just remember full-on ugly crying, mascara running, it was not a very pretty sight. And I apologize to the women who had to watch me do that, but it was necessary.

I just felt the Lord work so deeply in me to cover stewardship and to focus on stewardship, and I can tell you, it has radically changed the way that I have lived my life. It has radically changed the way I do things. It has radically changed the way I interact with people. And so I’m excited just to dive into this episode today and really talk about it.

So I want to get into a biblical definition of stewardship. So it, and this is according to like christianity.com, it says The Christian steward is not only responsible for the financial blessings provided by God, but also the spiritual gifts that are given through the Holy Spirit. And so I, personal, like one of my favorite verses is in 1 Peter 4.

The verse (9 and 10) says, offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. And then, it lists some things that you should do. And so to me, when I think about stewardship, I immediately go to that verse.

It’s offering hospitality. It’s caring for the gifts that God has given us, all of the gifts that God has given us. And so I want to talk about what it looks like to be a good steward and what are some of the qualities of a good steward. And so I’m excited just to dive into this with you today.

So one of the very first things that we need to acknowledge and talk about is the fact that a good steward understands that there is a role and responsibility because they are believers. So Michelle Schaffer and you guys can listen to an episode I did with her a few weeks ago. Is she? during my third round of Radiant Leadership Academy, one of the things she said about stewardship is that we cannot change, but we don’t acknowledge.

And so we have to acknowledge the fact that we are daughters of a King. We have divine lineage, we have a divine heritage, and the Bible tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ. And so with that, there is a responsibility that we have. We have to take our role in the Kingdom very seriously. And we have to think about everything we’re doing, everything we’re saying, the behaviors that we have because everything has to be intentional.

Jesus is our ultimate model for what it means to to go after God. To be hungry for the Lord. If Jesus is our ultimate example. Jesus was very intentional with the words that He used, the relationships He formed, and the way He interacted with people. Jesus knew His role and responsibility, and so we too have to know our role and responsibility as we are stewarding.

Life around us and the relationships around us and our homes, we have a responsibility to care for them, and I love that verse. 1 Peter 4:9 talks about offering hospitality. Our first mission field is our home.

I wrote a blog post about how your home can be your first mission. and it is not enough to offer hospitality to those outside of your home, we have to start with the people inside of our home and stewarding our home. There’s a quote in my office. My husband got it from me. He picked it up from Hobby Lobby, but he’s so cute and I look at it every day.

It says, the most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your home. . And when I think about that in relation to stewardship, I just think about the responsibility that I have, that my husband has to provide a safe home, to provide a loving home, to provide a home that is full of the Spirit, to also be able to have a home that welcomes other people where they can feel the Spirit. That’s how I ended up a Christian, my neighbors were incredible stewards of their relationships. They were incredible stewards of their home. They were incredible stewards of their marriage and of the relationship they had with their kids.

And so I had a good relationship with their kids, which then of course led me to spend more time in their home watching their marriage for a full decade. I watched their marriage and then some, they’re still happily married. They’re the cutest people ever, but I watched them have this home that was full of love and you could walk in and feel the Spirit.

I always tell people that my neighbor’s husband could literally read the ingredients on a cereal box and you would feel the Spirit because this man is so in tune with what God’s doing. He takes his, and of course I, he’s never read me ingredients on a cereal box, but, I can’t say that for sure, but he is so intentional with his relationship with the Lord that it spills out into every aspect of his life and he understands his role and responsibility, and because they understand their role and their responsibility.

That is how I became a Christian. That is how I was introduced to the Lord. It’s because of their faithfulness and because they took their job as believers seriously. And so we have the same responsibility to take what is going on in our world and make sure we are filtering it through a God lens.

I tell the boys all the time, every interaction they have, because people know that they’re Christian, every interaction that they have will either draw people closer to God or it is gonna push them away because they are watching you as a believer to see what it means to be a believer and to see what kind of a person you are.

And they’re going to judge God based on your behavior. And I know it sounds like a lot of responsibility for a nine and almost 11-year-old. But they made it a big deal when they were baptized. They told all their friends at school, and they told their teachers. And so I say tell them this all the time because everybody knows that they love Jesus.

They’re looking to see what kind of person you are and how that reflects God. They’re looking to see if you say you’re a Christian, but then you behave badly, then that is gonna impact them, they’re gonna think. And I know these kids are only in third and fourth grade, but that is going to impact how they feel about the Lord because they’re going to remember that, this kid in their third-grade class maybe said he loved Jesus, but he also treated people badly.

If that was the case, and thankfully it’s not, I get really excellent reports from school, it is a big responsibility that we have to steward ourselves and our relationships and the things that we have so that they can positively reflect the Lord. Titus 2 talks about how women need to do all of these things.

We need to be keepers of the home. We need to do all these so that no one can slander the name of the Lord. Paraphrasing here, but we are supposed to be good stewards of these things so that no one can say anything negatively about God.

Matthew talks about how your works showed glorify God and how people should be able to see the good things that you do and it glorifies God, not yourselves but the Lord. And that is a big responsibility. I know I’m harping on this, but it’s a huge responsibility to understand and be intentional with our actions because we have a big responsibility to play.

So the next thing is that good stewards know that everything belongs to the Lord. This is something I’ve been trying to teach the boys really heavily because they have not been great. And I’m gonna admit this is, total transparency, this has been a failure on my part.

They don’t always take care of their things, I definitely have replaced iPad screens multiple times and iPad screen protectors because they’ve fallen asleep on them, they’ve been left in their bed and my dog has sat on them.

And we’ve done a terrible job, and I’m trying to get better, right? My husband and I are good stewards of the things that we have, but I haven’t translated it well to the boys. And so this is something I’m working on, is teaching them that everything that you have, belongs to God.

Everything we’ve been given belongs to God. And so I love that verse. That I read at the beginning, it’s talking about how, because we’ve been blessed, we have to go out and bless others. We have to go and take care of the things that God has given us, and that includes our home, which includes the physical things that we have.

They do not belong to me. They are the Lords and He’s just blessed me with them. And has trusted me for safekeeping. And this was something I went through going through Radiant Leadership Academy. We were talking about caring for things and the way we steward things. And I immediately thought about my house.

We live in a house that I do not love right now. We’re in the middle of buying a new one and I didn’t love this house. I’m going to get emotional. But we’ve lived in this house now for three years and again, I don’t love it, but it was, I remember when we first moved in though, it was a total God thing.

There was like a crazy thing that happened. Our lease was up. We were visiting family in Texas for the summer. And so we found like a new place to rent. And while we were driving home, we literally got a call that, and somebody else had rented the house out from under us. They forgot to take it off of the listing site.

And so somebody rented it while we were driving back from Texas. And so here we are with the dogs and all of our stuff in storage and we were like, okay, we gotta figure it out. And so many places didn’t want to let us rent because of our dogs or they weren’t gonna have anything available right away.

And so we were like, what do we do? And I remember we found this house. And our landlord’s so sweet. This man is in his late eighties and he is prior service like my husband. And so he literally like just handed us the keys, it was move-in ready and he said, here are the keys. And I remember we didn’t sign a lease yet.

We hadn’t exchanged money. But he was like, here are the keys. This was a Saturday. He said we’ll worry about it on Monday. There was no background check and no credit check. Like none of the normal rental requirements happened. No asking about our employment, nothing. And it was such a blessing and I remember feeling okay. Lord, like you’re really aware of us.

And I felt so like euphoric when that happened. And the longer we lived here the more disdain I had. There are issues, there are things that need to change. And I wasn’t treating the house the way I felt about it when we first moved in three years ago.

And I remember feeling so convicted that God is not going to bless us with a different home when I am not stewarding this one well. Why would He? The Bible says that you have to be trusted with a little, so you can be trusted with a lot. And I remember calling my husband, I was hysterical.

I’m like, I’m so sorry. I haven’t been doing the best job taking care of our house. I haven’t treated it like a permanent home. I haven’t treated it like the place we live. I’ve treated it like it’s something temporary and that’s not okay. And I was so emotional about it. And I’ve radically changed the way I did things.

I like massively decluttered and I’ve just treated the house differently and now I’m seeing the fruits of that, right? Like now we are literally in the middle of house hunting and things right now for something better in a better school district. I have to say that I can only attest to the fact that I took care of the thing that God already gave me.

Because this thing isn’t mine. It’s God’s and God is seeing how He can trust the thing or take care of the thing that he has given me. Can he trust me with something He has given me? And so now I’ve spent the last four or five months really pouring into our house.

I’m treating it like a home instead of something temporarily that we live in. And I’m just seeing a totally different outcome. Like things are happening, miraculous things are happening. And I am just so grateful for that because it was a really humbling experience for me to be like, wow, I’ve not been a good steward of my home.

And of course, then that translates down to my boys who are not stewarding their toys. Yes, everything else my husband and I have we take really good care of, but I wasn’t taking great care of this house, right? Yes, our house was clean. Yes, it was organized, all this, right? The important things were done.

But I wasn’t decorating it like it was our permanent home. We weren’t having people over, like I didn’t do those things. Then I started doing it and I started putting more energy and effort into the way the house looks and having people in our home and interacting more with our neighbors.

We’ve lived here for three years and I’m just now getting to really know my neighbors for the first time. And so I’m like, all right Lord, like I see you. I see the difference, and the Lord is showing up because of it, because of that stewardship. And we have to remember that the things God has given us are temporary and they are meant to as like a trust exercise, right?

Can God trust you with the things he’s given you? Because they’re not ours. Ultimately, they’re the Lords.

The next thing, a good steward is trustworthy, right? We have to be women of our word. We have to be women who when we say something is going to happen, it happens. And yes, life circumstances come up, but as much as we can do to be women of our word. This is something we talked about in my coaching certification program that I’m in right now. So it’s a 16-week biblical leadership training program that I’ll be teaching in April.

When you say you’re gonna show up, it means following through when you say you’re gonna follow through. And because again, like I tell my boys, everything we do is a reflection of the Lord. When people know that you’re a Christian, everything you do is a reflection of the Lord. And so how can we show up and be trustworthy because God is trustworthy and so we have to be trustworthy people as.

Obviously, we have to be faithful, right? We have to put God first in all that we do as good stewards. Oh my gosh, you might have seen this, trending on TikTok maybe two summers ago. And it was talking about how you need Jesus all the time. And the response was, I need Jesus to go to Walmart.

And that’s true. Like we literally have to put Jesus first in literally everything that we do and trust that everything God is doing is for us. Our benefit. My husband always prays about good times and perceived bad times.

Even though something feels really bad, and we’ve been through a fair share of it in the last three years, even though something feels like it’s crumbling around you, God has a purpose for it and there is a reason for it. So we have to step forward in faith, even when it feels really hard to be a good steward. It means we have to exemplify our faith even though it feels really hard sometimes because people are watching and if your faith crumbles every single time something bad happens, then is it really faith at all?

It’s really easy to be faithful when everything is smooth sailing and easy. It’s a lot harder to be faithful when things feel difficult, right? When you’re unsure of what the next step is and when you’re unsure if you know if this is really like what God wanted, is this what God intended? And so we have to stay strong and put God first in everything, even when it feels challenging, even when it doesn’t feel great, right?

We have to find that comfort and that peace in what we’re doing. Another thing is that good stewards are discerning, right? They’re leaning into the Holy Ghost. We are leaning into what the spirit is telling us, and we are testing everything against scripture. I had this great conversation last night.

We had a great conversation with our boys about the adversary. So we were talking about Satan last night. I know that’s, that sounds very intense, but we’ve been studying this week, Jesus, going out into the wilderness and fasting, and how Satan came to tempt him. And so we were learning about who Satan is and what his methods are.

The Bible tells us what Satan’s gonna do, and one of the things we were talking about is how good thoughts, come from the Lord and when bad thoughts don’t. How these negative influences are not of God. And so he said how do I know if something’s good? My oldest said that and the youngest was like what your parents say is good.

And I was like is that true? Is that necessarily true? Because they have other influences in their life that are not believers and what they consider to be good is what the world would consider to be good. And so I said, that’s another adult in your life, that has influence.

And they say that. X, Y, Z thing is good, but what does God say? And they’re like God says that’s not good. And I’m like, okay so that can’t be our measure of what’s good and what’s bad. And so finally the oldest was like, oh, like we have to test it, right? We have to test it against what God says.

And I’m like, yes! That’s what the Bible says we have to test everything against what the Lord says, right? You lean on the spirit and then test. Test it against scripture because God is never going to contradict himself and ask you to do something that is, contradictory to what He has already said in scripture.

And so they were like, okay, like we got that. And we have to do the same thing. We have to be discerning of whether or not this of the Lord? Is this where God wants me? Is this the next step? So I would encourage you to pray about it, to fast about something, to dive into scripture and see if is this really of God.

I think God will confirm things for you. I will. I just had that experience right where I prayed about something and then I play like scripture roulette. I’ll pray about something. I will open my scriptures with my eyes closed and just literally point to a verse and never in the eight years that I have been a believer have I ever landed on scripture that did not speak to directly what I just prayed about.

Then it’ll just come up in church. I will have somebody talk about the thing I just prayed about or talk about the verse that I landed on, or something of that nature.

It’ll be confirmed multiple ways, or my husband will randomly bring it up, right? Or the kids will randomly bring it up. Like that particular verse or provide the same kind of guidance that I was given. And so when, whenever something is of God, He will confirm it to you. And so you, we just have to be discerning in knowing when something is of the Lord and when it’s not.

And the other thing is there’s radical obedience as a good steward, right? Radical obedience. We have to jump when God says to jump. One of my friends said one time that delayed obedience is still disobedience. And that shook me to the core, because I was like, okay, I hear you.

There have been so many times where I have delayed on something and I’m like, I wonder what would’ve happened if I had done it when I felt the Lord prompting me to do it. I know my moving to Georgia was like a big thing. So I will, I remember in 2014 I applied to teach at different schools down in the Beaufort, South Carolina area and, had interviewed and done all the things.

I was on my way to becoming a teacher down here in South Carolina. And I remember I met my ex-husband right in the middle of that process and he wanted to stay in the Pennsylvania area. And of course, I was so young and in love, I was 23 years old. I was young and in love, and so at least I thought I was in love. And so I stayed.

I gave up this prompting. I’d done my undergrad in South Carolina. I wanted to come back really badly. I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I’ve known since I was 10. I was supposed to live in the South, and so that was like a very clear vision from the Lord that we can talk about another time.

But I remember just thinking to myself like, his family doesn’t really live around the area anymore. I could convince him to come south, right? He was a disabled veteran. And that move never came.

And things just got really bad, things got really ugly things got really tumultuous and I remember when we split, one of the very first things I did, I remember I was on my way home from church with my neighbor and she’d asked me like, what are you gonna do when your divorce is finalized?

And without skipping a beat, I said to her, I’m moving to Georgia. And she was like, do you know anybody in Georgia? I was like, no. She was like, okay, that sounds good. I told her I was going to Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, and Beaufort are literally like on the other side of a bridge from each other.

So the same vicinity. And so I was like, okay, like that’s what I’m gonna do. And I literally went home from church. I booked a flight to Savannah. I flew from I think I actually ended up flying from like North Jersey because I couldn’t get a flight from Philly. And so I flew from North Jersey down to Savannah and then I found an apartment and moved here within 10 days.

I literally was here for two days, found my apartment, flew back up, and within 10 days, like I was driving back down here with all of my stuff. And that’s where I met my husband now, and we are insanely happy. We’ve, we met at church and everything has just been really beautiful and the life we’re building is really beautiful.

And it’s so funny because he landed here via the army the same year that I was looking at moving here and so I could have been here if I had followed that prompting in the beginning, I would’ve been here at the same time that he was, when he first got here. Do Ibelieve that we would’ve necessarily met right then?

I have no idea. We could have been here at the same time if I had just followed that prompting and I had in 2014. If I hadn’t delayed that obedience. And so many things happened because of that delayed obedience. Obviously, I ended up divorced. It was a very bad marriage.

I ended up taking a job, that we needed to stay afloat, and that tore my rotator cuff and I had to have surgery. And I haven’t been able to coach gymnastics or cheerleading ever since. And so my whole world changed. Because of that delayed obedience, my whole world changed, and I’m grateful for the place that I’m in now, but I do wonder sometimes, what would’ve happened if I just practiced the radical obedience?

And so I say this to tell you like, I’m not perfect at all, right? I’m still working on these things, but as somebody who is working on their stewardship, radical obedience is something that I am fully working on and trying to be better about doing. And so I wanna leave that with you. When the Lord prompts you to do something, act on it because it will make a big difference in your world.

And you never know the impact it will have on others when you practice that radical obedience. I’m actually bringing my friend Michelle, tougher on in a few weeks to talk about some radical obedience that she practiced and the impact it’s had on her and hundreds of other women. So I’m excited to dive deeper into radical obedience here in a few weeks, and I just wanna encourage you to think about your role as a believer.

Think about the responsibility you have as a believer and how people view the Lord because of your actions. Because that’s what it means to be a good steward, is to glorify God in all that we do.

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