Chapter 10: A Man and Stewardship
Today we continue with the series of excerpts from my new book, A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines. Visit our web location for numerous additional audio, video, and print resources on the Spiritual Disciplines.
In A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines, the chapter on Stewardship goes way beyond money to every aspect of how we live. Here is a list of all seven suggestions to pursue this discipline, and I have fleshed out the seventh one for you.
Suggestions for Pursuing the Discipline of Stewardship
- Don’t get engrossed with your possessions.
- Take care of the possessions you do have.
- Provide for the future.
- Give 10 percent of your income to the work of the church.
- Give above a tithe as God blesses and as you feel led.
- Steward your own private life.
- Steward your family.
This is so important it deserves a special mention. When God gives us the gift of a wife and maybe even children, He is giving us a sacred trust for which we are responsible. As mentioned already, a steward devotes 100 percent of his time, talent, and treasure to the glory of God. After God, our family deserves our time the most.
How do we steward our family time? Set your work hours and don’t deviate. Personally, my cutoff has always been six o’clock. I work like a dog until six o’clock, and then I quit. No matter what’s going on, I don’t work nights, and I don’t work weekends. When I started to travel and speak, we had a family meeting and decided to limit my travel to five nights a month maximum. Were there exceptions? No, because my family has always been a higher priority to me than work. I may have some flexibility that you don’t. But maybe you have more flexibility than you think. It never hurts to ask.
I used to have a ten-minute drive home from work. I would allow my mind to decompress and think about work until I got to a small bridge on Howell Branch Road. That bridge was about three minutes from the house. Then I would take all of the papers, figuratively, and I’d put them into an imaginary briefcase, shut it, throw it over the wall and, in my mind, watch it splash into the creek. I did that to clear my mind so that by the time I got home I was ready to re-engage my family. Actually, what I did first was give myself fifteen minutes to wash my face, put on some jeans, and then ask Patsy how she was doing.
From that moment on, I basically gave myself to my children. There were endless repetitions of Chutes and Ladders, mind-numbing sets of Candy Land—both of which require the IQ of a goldfish. I hated those games for the same reason my children loved them. That’s because no matter how competitively you play, the other player is still going to win half the games.
Stewardship is a challenging discipline because it affects every aspect of life. Yet a faithful steward is nothing more than a man who has surrendered his agenda to God, accepting and living in submission to His plan. That sounds pretty much like the definition of a Christian. So stewardship is more than an “option” on a long menu. It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it thing. It’s part of the deal. Stewardship is the inevitable lifestyle of an authentic Christian man. That’s why one of my credos is: No agenda but God; no agenda but God’s.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.