"Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."
— Apostle Paul (1 Cor.6:19-20)
When I say the word, "stewardship", what comes to mind? Do you think about the sermons that encourage you to give a portion of your income to the work of the church? If you are environmentally minded, do you think about the responsibility of being a good steward for our natural resources? Within the context of business, do you think about the importance of using an organization's capital resources well? The common theme with each of these situations is being aware, simply speaking, that "stewardship means that we have a personal responsibility to take care of something that is not our own" (Wikipedia).
Now, when I place the word "personal" in front of the term stewardship, what comes to mind? Does "personal stewardship" cause you to change your perspective regarding any of the above scenarios? I hope so. I want to challenge your stewardship paradigm.
While it is true that we should always be good stewards of the physical and natural resources God has given us, I have discovered that we must first be good stewards of the greatest resource of all — the temple in which God resides. I am not talking about a building or center that we go to on Saturday night or Sunday. I am talking about the most valuable resource that God has ever created to achieve His purpose — ourselves — heart, soul, and mind.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20)". Again, stewardship means that we have a personal responsibility to take care of something that is not our own. God feels so strongly that we should view our bodies as His temple that He expanded this perspective to include all believers corporately. The Apostle Paul admonishes each of us, "Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple. For God's temple is holy, and you Christians are that temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17)."
These verses influence how I prioritize my stewardship responsibilities. Yes, I do have a great responsibility to use the resources at Focus on the Family in a wise fashion. However, more importantly, I have a responsibility to treat the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides in a way that is pleasing to Him. This needs to be priority number one!
So, are you being a good steward of the most valuable resource that God has entrusted to you? As a leader, are you modeling this personal stewardship?
Throughout Scripture, the term, "temple," is used frequently to describe a place in which God resides. It is a place He commands to be kept pure and holy. Jesus' one demonstration of anger occurred when God's physical temple in Jerusalem was used for something rather than worship.
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the moneychangers and the stalls of those selling doves. He said, "The Scriptures declare, 'My temple will be called a place of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!" (Matt. 21:12-13).
God is quite serious about how His physical temple or our bodily temple is treated. Keeping it holy and pure is not an option! Do you grasp the message here? God places GREAT value on your physical temple through which we are to serve others and be His ambassadors.
I have to regularly ask myself, "What might cause God to be upset with the way His temple is being kept up and used? How do I treat it at work? Do I push my self beyond what is considered healthy with the potential consequences of burnout and stress? Am I causing others to stumble in this area?
So, what does that mean for you and me? What are a few things that we can do to keep our temple pure and holy?
Consider these leadership questions:
"I (God) will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." — Psalm 32:8
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.