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It Isn’t Yours

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Going into my senior year of college, I was given an amazing opportunity to fulfill a dream of mine. At our university, we had a weekly worship event called Refuge. Each Thursday night at 9PM, around 300-400 students would pack into the Second Baptist Church in town for student-led worship and teaching. I had been regularly attending since my freshman year and as someone who had always felt the call to preach and never gotten the opportunity, I dreamed of someday being the guy with the microphone sharing God’s Word with my peers.
Then one day as I was checking my mail, I received a letter from our campus ministries office, offering me the position as the new speaker for the upcoming academic year. I don’t think my feet touched the floor again for weeks. I was so excited that I began connecting with Klayton, our new worship leader before we even left for the Summer. I planned out the entire first semester of messages prior to even arriving on campus. I was excited and ready to make the most of the experience.

It wasn’t my ministry.

Before classes started that Fall, all of the student leaders associated with our Baptist Collegiate Ministries were taken on a retreat about an hour from campus for training. As we were there, the BCM staff opened up notebooks, journals, and scrapbooks that had been prepared by past student leaders. In them were pictures over ten years old of students partaking in the ministries we were each about to lead. There were pictures of Refuge from many years ago, before it even had its name. Seeing those pictures taken long before I was even in high school did something to me. It reminded me that while I was called upon to lead this ministry for a year, it wasn’t mine.

Refuge had been going on for over ten years and started as a grassroots student movement. When it became too big to be contained on campus, it was moved to area churches that would host it. It started long before me and I knew it would continue long after. My job was to work with the other members of our team to make it the best we could under the Lord’s direction. I knew that I wanted to walk away at the end of the year having left it all on the field.

Your life isn’t yours.

Our spiritual term for this concept is “stewardship.” Many preachers foolishly limit this term to talking about money, particularly when giving a sermon on tithing. But stewardship is much more than that. It’s living with the understanding that your life isn’t yours to own. God created you and then purchased you with a heavy price. As Christians, we approach our lives knowing that our opportunities, resources, blessings, passions, and talents are all God’s gifts to us. They are ultimately his and the mark of a committed disciple is the willingness to use them in service to him.

So what does this mean?

Your body isn’t your own. This truth has been particularly convicting to me recently as I’ve realized just how bad my diet is. If I’m going to live a long life in service to Christ, I’ll need a body that can take me there. If God takes me early, that’s fine but I don’t want it to happen because I wasn’t responsible with the body he gave me.

This also means that our bodies are not ours to use however we please. Knocking them up with ill-advised drug use or using them as blunt instruments for sex just doesn’t line up with God’s purposes for them.

Your talents aren’t your own. The abilities and talents you were born with are ultimately God’s gift to you. He didn’t bless you with these things to glorify yourself but to glorify him. I love guys like Tim Tebow and Josh Hamilton who use their athletic careers to point people back to Christ. How can your talents for music, art, business, sports, or anything else be used for his glory?

Your money isn’t your own. Understanding this goes much further than tithing 10% of your income to your church. It means investing and saving wisely, avoiding debt as much as possible, and being generous when called upon.

Your career isn’t your own. God has placed you in your particular company and field for a reason. Any promotion or esteem headed your way can and should be used to point others to Christ. So do your work with excellence, grace, and determination. Do it not for yourself but for the opportunities that will come as a result of your hard work.

True stewardship is the leveraging of our lives to make much of Christ.

Discuss: What area of your life have you recently struggled to give up in stewardship to Christ?

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