With every new beginning of a year, instead of a New Year’s goal or plan, I have a word. I begin praying in December for God to put one simple word on my heart, that I can focus on, meditate on, and pray over for the next full year.
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____
Almost one full year ago now, God led our hearts to sell our house in town and move out to my family land off the beaten path. The land has never truly been built on, it is acres and acres of trees and wildlife and an old cabin that’s slowly but surely caving in. Oh, but it is home to me. It’s where I spent summer days with my daddy, my first camping experiences, cooking over an open fire, days at the river; this land is home in my heart, and it’s where my late daddy’s memory remains so strongly. This land has been in our family for generations and generations; it was farmed on, it provided for our family and for others, it made a profit to put food on the table. I later learned the cabin that is now home to rodent wildlife and honeybees, was once built for fellowship. The church down the street was founded by my ancestors and my grandfather built the cabin to hold after-church gatherings, the piano who hasn’t heard a tune in years and maybe missing a few keys was played for worship.
Digging into the history of my family and this land as months passed, I knew the word God wanted me to hold close to my heart for the following year… Steward.
Stewardship: The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
As we packed up our house, and moved into a tiny trailer on the big lot of dirt, I couldn’t fathom the blessing, “God, why me? What can I do? How can I steward this land the way you want me to?” The blessing was and still has been overwhelming. As the fall leaves began to change their bright colors on all the different trees around me and the wind began to rustle through the leaves, bushes, and overgrowth; I began to take walks and pray. I prayed over the land, acre to acre, that God would allow me to steward this land to glorify His name and His name only. To magnify Him and to use it any way He asks of me. A task I can only do in His strength.
Fast forward to January, the beginning of the year of stewardship. The cold winter that brought bitter news that my body had failed me, my husband, and my family. That the body that I have kept healthy and strong, or so I thought, all these years had let me down. The body I worked out, stretched, and danced my heart out with… decided I can’t conceive my own child and held a few more problems that I never anticipated. Through prayer and many tears, my gracious God reminded me of my word, steward. I knew exactly what that meant, I only get one body, just one. One good shot with this miracle of flesh, bones, organs, and soul. I changed my whole lifestyle; my workout schedule, my diet, my habits… I reconsidered many things that were going in and out of this body, of this blessing. I knew in my heart, only God can open the wounds to help my body create a baby, but I can do my part and take care of this vessel He’s blessed me with. I can steward this blessing of a body the best I can, only in His strength.
As time has continued this year and the seasons have changed, and south Mississippi has gotten hotter than what I imagine the pit of hades to be like; I have continued to find what God wants me to steward; my perspective has changed, my actions have changed, my habits have changed, and my prayers have changed. Through that, I narrowed down my categories of blessings and how I plan to steward each one. Here’s how I started:
“6 Blessings to Steward”
- Time – How do I steward my time for God? Do I use it to glorify and magnify His name? What are my idols in a day, where does all my time go? Am I spending enough time in scripture, in prayer, and in worship with my Creator, or does social media see me more of me than my God?
- Body – Am I treating my body as a blessing? Am I eating well, exercising, watching my habits, understanding what is going on, around and in my body? Am I treating this blessing of my human vessel as if it is where my Savior dwells?
- Land/House – How do I steward this blessing for God, for His people; to magnify His name? Am I being hospitable, are my doors always open, is the dirt something I can use to grow food for my family and for others, flowers to bring smiles to faces? Am I prepared to use this land and our home for anything God asks me to use it for?
- Finances – The jobs my husband and I have been blessed with are from the Lord, we work for Him, are we being responsible with the blessing of the income from them? Are we giving to the church, are we giving when asked of us by God, do we grip onto dollar bills in fear, or do we give in faith? Do we value possessions or the thought of “bigger and better” things in the place of feeding the needy? Where is our money going monthly, and does our checking account scream responsible, or undisciplined?
- Family – Am I being the serving wife I need to be? Am I giving to my husband more than He continuously gives me, because I sure did pray for this man for many, many, years of my life. Am I raising a respectable, kind, God fearing daughter? Are we treating family as a blessing from God, or are we just trying to “keep up with the Joneses”? Are we filling our family schedule so much that we miss the times of making memories, of worshiping God together, of teaching and learning of discipline as parents and as Christ-followers?
- Earth – The Bible says that there will be a new Heaven and new earth, I’ve heard this time and time again. And as I prayed over my own acreage, I’ve began to wonder what this new earth will be like… If I don’t steward this earth I’m given now well… what will God trust me with in eternity? Am I stewarding the blessing of this earth, of this creation, of the cycles of life, of the beauty of the flowers, of the joy of the animals and songs of the birds in the sky… Do I steward this earth well?
God honors intention, you don’t have to have an entire lifestyle change, but day by day, I believe one little change can begin to harvest a heart change of appreciation for the blessings God has given us. I pray over each blessing, each specific change, and ask God to help me steward this blessing, because I do appreciate them all so much, there are more than I could have ever dreamed of or deserve. Do I show that to Him in my day-to-day life? The feeling of knowing God has trusted me with all these blessings, it’s overwhelming.
To help your own Stewardship Prayer Chart, I provided some examples below. I chose one or two things to change or focus on and a scripture verse to pray over. Make yours however you wish, choose a goal of stewardship in your life and which scripture is closest to your heart.
|Time||– 20 minutes every morning in the word/Bible study. |
– prayer time in the morning/at night.
– Less time on social media.
– Television only on weekends.
– Read more.
|-“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14-15|
-“Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise by as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-2
-“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 91:12
-“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and time to throw away, a time tear and time to mend, a time to be silent and time to speak, a time to love and time to hate, a time for war and time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
|Body||-20 minute workout every morning.|
-Change diet: Choose a meal or 2 a day to be specific on healthy foods.
-Change makeup, soaps, detergent.
-Change a bad habit.
|-“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19|
-“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
-“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14
|Land/House||-Plant a garden, steward the soil.|
-Compost: give back to the dirt.
-Hospitality: Invite other’s over, Friday night dinners, plan women Bible studies, river gatherings, fellowship.
-Pray over house/future house and how it will be used to serve.
-“and if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” Luke 16:12
-“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house: yet it did not fail, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
-“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” Proverbs 24:27
|Finances||-Tithe at the end of every month.|
-Give to a charity.
-Budget for bills and for giving the same.
-Are we praying and paying for necessities or wants?
-“So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Luke 16:11
-“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Proverbs 3:9
-“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
|Family||-Dinner at the dinner table every night possible. |
-Family game night.
-Put phones away and talk.
-Stop saying yes to everything. -Value family time over everything else.
-Raise a disciple.
-Pray with my husband before he leaves for work every morning.
-Morning devotion with my child.
-“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
-“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
-“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” 1 Timothy 3:4-5
|Earth||-Pick up garbage whenever and wherever you see it.|
-Compost instead of garbage.
-Don’t waste water.
-Don’t use pesticides or fertilizers that aren’t good for the soil or water.
-Use cleaner products in better packaging.
-No more paper plates.
|-“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13|
-“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” Revelation 21:1
-“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth…” Isaiah 65:17
-“’As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,’ declares the Lord, ‘so will your name and descendants endure.” Isaiah 66:22
Today I praise you for my many blessings. You have given me more than I could have asked or deserve. God, I pray that I can take these blessings and steward them well so that you will see my appreciation and love, and others will see the glory of your name. Please continue to bless me as you see fit, trust me with your blessings here on earth; my work is for you and my treasure is truly in heaven. Thank you for these gifts and your trust. Amen.