22 Feb Jehovah Jireh and Stewardship
The Bible shares many different names for God describing his character and attributes. Jehovah Jireh has always stood out to me. It means, “The Lord Will Provide.” The Message says it this way, “God sees to it.” Jehovah Jireh speaks of God’s awesome provision for followers of Christ who call him Lord and Savior. How should Christians, for us personally, as well as the ministries we serve, respond to God’s provision?
In the account of Abraham’s sacrificing of Isaac (Gen. 22), God intervened at the last minute and provided a ram to be offered as a sacrifice. God was testing Abraham’s obedience, and as a result, Abraham called that place “Jehovah-Jireh” because GOD PROVIDED. God’s ultimate test (of Abraham) resulted in His ultimate provision – God spared his son. Isaac is a picture of when God would GIVE HIS only son on the cross, as our ultimate provision for sin.
Once we believe and appropriate God’s forgiveness, what more can we do as Christ followers? How do we respond to this gift? I believe that exercising biblical stewardship is an important part of our response.
“The starting point in the journey of the Christian steward is—must be—a realization of the reality of God’s love. Yes, it is just that—a starting point, not an ending point. Accompanying the steward’s recognition of God’s love is an awareness that God’s love is a joyful love and that the steward is called to participate in that joy. As God’s love becomes known, it is clear that God longs for a response from each person.”
-Ronald Vallet, from “Stepping Stones of the Steward”
“From the moment He imparted life to mankind to the climactic gift of salvation through the death of His son Jesus Christ, God has set the supreme example of radical, sacrificial giving for His followers.”
-Gordon MacDonald, from “Generosity”
We are called to biblical stewardship as a response to God’s love and provision for us. Have you heard this expression, “We give because God first gave to us?” The simple truth is this, “stewardship is management of resources.” As stewards, we are called to manage God’s resources. We are responsible to the owner (God) who is the creator and owner of ALL things. This means everything you currently have or ever will have: our physical possessions, our talents, our family, our work… everything. It is nothing less than a complete lifestyle.
For those of us in Christian service or ministry this has several ramifications. First, ask yourself, “How will I steward what my master has placed in my care?” Another way to ask the question is, “How am I personally using my time, talent, and treasure to further God’s kingdom? Before we can teach others about biblical stewardship, or ask a donor to support our organization, or deliver a message on the topic, we should examine our own life. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “When we give to God, we are just taking our hands off what already belongs to Him.” Are we practicing stewardship in a way pleasing to God? Then and only then can we ask others to consider supporting our ministry or project.
I started with a question, “What does Jehovah-Jireh have to do with stewardship?” The answer is everything. As God provides for us, we have no choice but to respond with a heart of joy, adoration, and worship. In the Parable of the Talents Jesus taught, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things’” (Matt. 25:14-30). May that be our prayer.