God instructs us to be good stewards over the gifts He gives. Using wisdom when caring for these gifts allows us to reach our full potential as we grow in His grace. Below is a list of the 10 most valuable things to use wisely during our life.
1. Experience – going through our lives without learning from our mistakes or those of others leads us to falling in traps. God has given us the ability to remember, feel pain or joy, and think about the consequences of our actions. If we experience things, good or bad, we are able to learn lessons, teaching others by passing on our own experiences through stories. Jesus taught people using parables, true to life experiences we can understand. Using our experiences wisely helps us, our family, friends and acquaintances lead better lives.
2. Knowledge – using our experiences, we gain knowledge which can be used to hurt or to heal. Sometimes it’s tough to bite our tongue when we know someone is wrong or about to make a mistake. Wisdom comes in knowing when to let others experience things for themselves. Not everyone will listen to what you have to say. Other times, it’s important to speak up using what you know to help someone. Proverbs 24:5 says, “a wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases in strength.”
3. Faith – Matthew 17:20 says “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.” Mustard seeds are really tiny. We are told to exercise our faith even if it’s just a little seed. Faith is stepping out on a limb not knowing if it will break. Faith is not knowledge. It is an exercise which leads to knowledge. God wants us to use faith so He can grow our faith. Using our faith in situations which are difficult to understand, we let God show us He will be there for us at any time through any circumstance. Worry is for the faithless. God wants to be there for us. We have to let Him in.
4. Opportunities – have you ever heard someone talk about a missed opportunity? God provides chances for us to use our talents. When we don’t respond, we’ve lost something which was a gift. Susan Boyle is a great example of a faithful woman, dedicated to the care of her mother. When her mother died, Susan was given the opportunity to live her dream. God gave her a beautiful voice and the chance to use her talent. Remember the man who asked Jesus what he could do? Jesus told him to sell all his worldly possessions and follow him. The man sadly retreated to his home missing the gift He could have received from God. The picture of Jesus knocking on the door is very well known. Are you going to let Him in taking the opportunity to let God use the talents He’s given you for His purposes? If we’re wise, we’ll recognize the opportunities God puts in front of us and use them for the good of all men.
5. Talents – when we think of talent, we usually think of entertainment. There are many different kinds of talent from sewing and cooking to building houses. God gives each one of us something we can use to contribute to the lives of others. When we contribute, we create a society which helps everyone reach eternal life – God’s ultimate gift. Volunteering to use our talents to help others, brings each of us closer to Him. People appreciate working together reaching goals.
Churches and community programs are wonderful places to grow our skills. When we don’t use our talents they are lost. Matthew 25 talks about the talents the Master gave to his servants. The servants who used their talents made them grow. The servant who buried his, was scolded. His talents were useless because he didn’t use them for any purpose. They didn’t grow, they just sat there gathering dust. Using our talents with wisdom develops skills God can use to bring people to His kingdom.
6. Family – the Ten Commandments say to honor thy mother and thy father. Our families are important when we need advice, comfort or assistance. Sometimes our families are in need of us and it’s our turn to help them. We learn through our families how to deal with the world where we develop adult traits. The family unit is God’s way to create support to reach His goals. Just as our church family makes us stronger in faith, when we raise our children, we can learn from our parents and grandparents by listening to their experiences. Although not all families are traditional, honoring our parents means we are to be the best people we can be. Grown children can be examples to their parents and bring them to the Kingdom of God. The family unit is respected by God when used to better society. Strong families create good neighborhoods and dynamic communities.
7. Friendship – churches are great places to make lasting friendships. Knowing which friends are the right friends helps bring us closer to God. The Bible talks about strong bonds between people who sacrificed their lives for each other. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three young men brought before King Nebuchadnezzar with strong faith. Jesus’ disciples were examples of great friends of faith. God honors these bonds and gives us the ability to help each other when we’re down in order to lift our spirits, council each other in times of trouble and do His work. Choosing friends who are uplifting is a key to being a wise steward over the gift of friendship.
8. Time – wasting time and procrastination are two of the biggest complaints people have about their lives. Each New Year, resolutions are made in regard to wasting time. It’s important to use our time wisely because we never know when we’ll need it to do God’s work. We may have an opportunity blocked because we wasted our time doing nothing. Waking up early in the morning to get chores done, we usually find we have more hours in the day to do something productive. Good stewards find time to study their scriptures, pray, volunteer, clean their houses, take care of children, help at church and other Kingdom building activities.
So many hours are wasted watching TV, playing games or doing dead works. Biblically, dead works are those actions which lead to death or are non-productive in saving souls bringing people to eternal life. By using our time wisely, we can choose activities which assist God in using our talents, provide opportunity and use the experience and knowledge we gain by obeying God’s commandments.
9. Money – God gives us the ability to make money so we can function in the world. He tells us if we use it wisely, giving a tenth back to Him, we will be blessed. Overlooking God’s portion of the money made, takes away His ability to further the work of the church. We are blessed with talents so we can make money. When we use our money wisely we have better clothes, houses and easier lives. God opens doors for us to grow our money so we can help each other. Making wise investments like saving for retirement or emergencies, paying for college or our health are all part of good stewardship.
Examples of people who have devoted a portion of their income to charity are Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Dolly Parton and Tony Stewart. These celebrities thought it was important to give back large portions of the money they’ve made. Oprah said the more she gives away, the more comes back to her.
The widow’s mite is a good example of how the Bible teaches the stewardship of tithing. She didn’t have much, but what she had, she gave to God and was blessed because of her willingness to obey.
10. Love of Self – we are temples of God according to the Bible. The entire Bible is about our relationship with God and building His kingdom on earth. Our souls are contained within the vessel He gave us. Smoking, drinking, indulging in unhealthy foods, gaining enormous amounts of weight says we aren’t using our bodies wisely. Putting ourselves in dangerous situations using drugs or being in the wrong place puts our vessels in jeopardy. Watching what we eat, exercising regularly, kicking our bad habits, paying attention to where we go and keeping our bodies pure and clean honors God. We were made in His image.
Think of it like this – we are what we love. Golfers have lots of golf accessories, hunters have lots of guns, chefs like all kinds of cooking gear. If one of those pieces which are valuable to your collection are broken, hurt or taken, how does it make you feel? Even if that item is the least part of your collection, you still feel a wound every time you think of the loss. That’s how God thinks of us. We are one of His children. We are part of His family unit and when we’re hurt, broken or lost, He feels the pain. The temples He gave us which are our bodies are sacred to Him holding the most important part of us – our souls which live beyond the grave.
The most valuable gift God gave us is our self. When used wisely, all the other gifts of knowledge, experience, faith, etc. fall into place giving glory to His greatest creation. We are His greatest love.