"The one who manages the little he has been given with faithfulness and integrity will be promoted and trusted with greater responsibilities." Luke 16:10 (TPT)
In this season of Thanksgiving, have you considered the things God has placed in your care? Maybe you are educating and raising your children, or you could be caring for your elderly parents or grandchildren, and possibly both. You may be facing health challenges, or perhaps you are a starving student hungry for knowledge and wisdom. Developing a thankful awareness gauges how we spend our time, our opportunities and responsibilities while measuring our care for blessings, possessions and resources.
While it may seem like a daunting task, God wants us to take care of everything he has given us. God wants us to be a willing heart, like fertile soil, where he can grow our thankfulness. We can do nothing on our own, but with His help, we can do much more than we ever hoped or imagined. Jesus acknowledges our human limitations apart from God.
"I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will." John 5:30 (NLT)
First things first, how are we spending our time each day? I know we all have 24 hours, but doesn't it feel like some have more? The good time managers probably wake up in the morning praising God with thankfulness for the new day! While Mr. Negative Naysayer wakes up grumbling, complaining about all their tall orders with a shortage of time to get things done. They fret over important, maybe even life-changing meetings, never considering giving them to God in prayer. Let me suggest seeking God's wisdom and direction first thing in the morning and watch how he influences our situations and circumstances throughout the day. Also, because they matter so much to us, plan on praying for your children, spouses, or friends going through tough times.
Paul offers wise counsel on time management in Romans 12:11 (MSG), "But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-to-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!"
There was a time when my children were small, and God provided some opportunities for positive childhood development. These were simple, yet important things. I can clearly remember having a conversation about the importance of making their bed and keeping their room picked up and clean. I explained that God had given them their room and their bed. I shared that some children did not have a room or a bed. I explained, "To honor, and demonstrate thankfulness to
God we should always make our beds first thing in the morning." Yes, there were times when rebellion creeped in, but it was non-negotiable. The bed must be made.
On another occasion, when struggling as a single mother, I
was given an old rusty car. It was green, and the interior was held together with duct tape and safety pins. It was as long as it was unattractive, and boy it was unattractive. God had provided the car for reasons beyond transportation, He was teaching me to be dependent on Him for all needs. God was molding and shaping me for His purposes. We kept the inside of the car clean as a way of honoring God for the vehicle he had given to us. It is so very simple; without this car I could not go to work or take the children where they needed to be.
From the simplest things, like making our beds, to the grandest things in life, are we being good stewards of what God has given?
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Speaking of the body and mind, God tells us that we can be transformed by renewing our minds. One powerful way to renew the mind is by reading the Word and allowing the Word to saturate your prayers. The Word is God's two-way radio to our mind. This renewal opens us up to the fullness of God. Of course, God also addresses our physical bodies in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
"Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don't belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. You were God's expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God!"
So, are you doing all you can to keep your body in good condition? I am not asking you to go overboard, exercising hours upon hours each day, but rather examining your choices in thankful awareness. Take a few minutes to review what you eat, drink, watch, read, think about, and your investment in good health. How about the company you keep -- do they elevate you or do they drag you down? Are these things bringing honor and glory to God? Your answers may tell you a lot about your relationship with God.
Finally, God promises rewards for the choices we make, and they are explained in Matthew 13:12 (NLT), "To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."
Theresa Rowe is the founder of Shaped by Faith, an author, health coach, motivational speaker and radio host. Visit her at shapedbyfaith.com.