被呼召作忠心的管家

一位商人把一本支票交給他的好友奇普。他存了5,000美金在這支票帳戶裡,讓奇普去幫助有重大需要的人。這商人相信奇普會使他的慷慨捐獻更有效率地幫助人,因為奇普是一位備受尊敬的牧師,也是廣播節目裡的教師,所以奇普可以決定什麼樣的人應該接受財物支助。

他安排兩人定期會面。見面時,奇普會說明錢用到何處,而那商人再補充這救助基金的錢。

在兩人合作後沒多久,奇普有了一個令自己驚訝的啟示。他發現自己把那商人的支票帳戶處理得比自己的錢還好,因為他知道自己要向那商人交帳。

讓我問你一個問題:若你的支票和其他財物都是別人的,而你知道自己定期要交出會計報表說明你如何使用那些財物,這會不會影響你的財務決定?

只有一個所有權人。事實上,我們所「擁有的一切」不是真的屬於我們。幾年前,一位非常富裕的商界領袖過世。在喪禮上,有人趨前問他生前的會計師:「他留下多少錢?」那會計師毫不遲疑地回答:「全部。」所羅門王智慧地觀察到:「他怎樣從母胎赤身而來,也必照樣赤身而去;他所勞碌得來的,手中分毫不能帶去」(傳道書5章15節)。

但有一個更重要的「所有權」議題,是我們應該思考的。根據聖經,上帝是萬物的擁有者:「凡天上地下的都是你的;國度也是你的,並且你為至高,為萬有之首。豐富尊榮都從你而來,你也治理萬物。在你手裡有大能大力,使人尊大強盛都出於你」(歷代志上29章11-12節)。

被呼召作管家。若這是真的,我們的角色是什麼?聖經說,我們要成為上帝託付我們之財物的經理人,或「管家」。如使徒保羅在哥林多前書4章2節所說:「所求於管家的,是要他有忠心」。耶穌說,我們也要交帳(如同奇普對他朋友的責任)--而且會按我們管理的表現得獎賞:「好,你這又良善又忠心的僕人,你在不多的事上有忠心,我要把許多事派你管理;可以進來享受你主人的快樂」(馬太福音25章21節)。

若我們每天早上起來看我們管理的所有財物--我們的房子、車子、皮夾、事業、時間、天份--都不是我們擁有的東西,而是我們代替上帝管理的東西,因祂才是真正的擁有者,這會帶來什麼不同?

請記得,你的支票本不是你自己的,那是上帝借你,讓你有責任分配使用,你會不忠心嗎?

思想 / 討論題目
若你與奇普一樣,有人把他的支票本交給你,讓你有權力使用帳戶裡的錢,你會如何回應? 當我們談到我們的財物--我們的房子、衣服、車子、珠寶和其他東西,我們一向都認為自己就是擁有者。你曾否想過這些東西並不屬於你,你只是經理人,一個被要求要智慧地使用這些財物的管家?請解釋。 想一件你生活中的東西--你的財物、你最珍惜的東西、或甚至是你的時間。若你相信那些並不是你的,而是上帝的,這會帶來什麼不同? 若你站在上帝面前,祂要評定你如何處理祂的財物、資源,你認為祂會稱你是「又忠心又良善的僕人」嗎?為什麼?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
箴言11章4、28節,18章11節,23章4-5節,27章24節,28章20節;路加福音16章10-12節;哥林多前書7章23-24節

CALLED TO BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS

By: Rick Boxx

A businessman gave a checkbook to Chip, a good friend of his. He had placed $5,000 in the account for Chip to help people with significant needs. This businessman believed his generosity would be more effective by having Chip, a highly respected pastor and radio teacher, determine which people should receive financial assistance.

Part of the arrangement was to establish a specific time for the two of them to meet regularly. During those times Chip would recount stories of how the money had been used and would then have the assistance fund replenished.

Not long after starting this unusual partnership, Chip gained a surprising personal revelation. He found himself managing the businessman”s checkbook better than his own, because he knew he was going to be accountable for how the monies were spent.

Let me ask you a question: If your checkbook, and other material resources, were owned by someone else and you knew that periodically you would have to give a formal accounting of how you used those resources, do you think that would affect your decision-making process?

Only one owner. In reality, nothing that we “own” is truly ours. Years ago a very wealthy business leader died. At the memorial service, someone approached the late executive”s accountant. “How much did he leave behind?” the accountant was asked. Without hesitation, the accountant replied, “All of it.” As King Solomon wisely observed, “Naked a man comes from his mother”s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15).

But there is an even more important “ownership” issue that we should consider. According to the Bible, God is the owner of all things: “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the Ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).

Called to be stewards. If this is true, what is our role? The Scriptures tell us we are to be managers of resources entrusted to our care, or “stewards.” As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:2, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." Jesus said that (like Chip”s responsibility to his friend) we also will be held accountable – and rewarded accordingly: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master”s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).

I wonder what difference it would make if we awoke every morning and regarded everything in our care – our homes, our cars, our wallets, our businesses, our time, our talents – not as things that we own, but rather as things that we manage on behalf of God, who is the true Owner.

Remember: Your checkbook is not your own. It’s on loan to you from God. Are you being faithful?

Copyright 2010, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How do you think you would respond if, like Chip, someone entrusted you with his checkbook and gave you the responsibility for distributing its contents?
When it comes to our material possessions – our homes, clothing, motor vehicles, jewelry and other things – we typically see ourselves as owners. Have you ever thought that instead of owning these things, you are only the manager, a steward required to use them wisely? Explain your answer. Think of one thing in your life – your financial resources, your most prized possession, or even your time? What difference would it make if you acted according to the belief that it is not really yours, but that it belongs to God? If you were to stand before God and He were to assess how you have handled His resources, do you think He would call you His “good and faithful servant”? Why or why not?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 11:4,28, 18:11, 23:4-5, 27:24, 28:20; Luke 16:10-12; Corinthians 7:23-24

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