Read for This Week’s Study: Eph. 5:15–17; Col. 3:23; Luke 12:35–48; James 4:14; Acts 3:21; 1 Cor. 9:24–27.
Memory Text: “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”. (Psalm 119:9–11, NKJV).
This week we are invited to look at the habits that define a good steward. There are several of them to explore but before doing that, let us think about habits as a broad category.
A habit is a way of conducting oneself. It could also be called a usual manner of behaving. Habits are behavior patterns that come into existence due to repetitious actions on our part. Some habits are beneficial, good for us and those around us; others are hurtful, again to us and to those around us. Habits can become deeply engrained in our lives, in some cases to the point of becoming an addiction. Our habits help form us, and they become one of the ways in which others come to know us. For example, a person who comes to work at the same time every day comes to be known for that. Habits can also be very helpful in that they help facilitate living. Habits, once established, make our work less mentally taxing, more automatic, if you will.
It all but goes without saying that a good steward would be someone who has developed good habits rather than deleterious ones. In a Christian sense, those good habits would be the ones formed with the teachings and principles of the Bible in the foreground.
Some good, general Bible passages to consider here are these:
- Ephesians 5:15-17 – “15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (NIV)
- Colossians 3:23 – “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (NIV)
- What thoughts come to mind after reading and thinking about these verses?
Another set of verses that give a general context for Christian living are these:
Matthew 6:25-33 – 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:13 – “13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)
In addition to these general comments, there are some specific things, or habits, that the Bible enjoins good stewards to develop:
- Contentment – A good steward is one who learns to be content with circumstance, not to the point of being inactive, but to the point of not being over-stressed and driven to the point of distraction. See Philippians 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6.
- What are some strategies or ideas that can aid a person toward contentment?
- Trust – Proverbs 3:5 is a good verse that instructs believers to trust God. Trust is the willingness to believe in the integrity of another person. It is an antidote to stress and skepticism.
- What makes trusting God difficult?
- What makes trusting humans difficult?
- What makes trusting easier?
- Watchfulness – In Luke 12:35-48, there is a rather long story about a home owner who went away but left his home in the care of a servant who, though the owner was gone a long time, proved faithful, ever watchful lest a thief come in unexpectedly to steal. The watchfulness of the steward was a key element behind the owner’s commendation given to his servant when he returned.
- Self-discipline – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is an interesting passage about self-discipline, particularly as it relates to those who run races intending to win. Self-discipline is a very valuable trait, or habit, to develop because it facilitates a lot of growth and production as opposed to the lack of production that comes from self-indulgence..
- Faithfulness – In Matthew 25:21 there are words that every steward would like to hear, that every steward hopes to hear – “Well done good and faithful servant,…” It is simply a fact of life that the way we live tells a lot about who we are and what we find important. For a follower of Christ to be found faithful in the end, is a very big thing that will bring lasting joy.
- What are you doing in your life that builds faithfulness?
- What do you wish you were more faithful about?