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In Luke 12:42-48, Jesus told a parable about stewardship:

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

According to Jesus, one of the characteristics of the wise and faithful steward is that he distributes goods to the household of God “in due season.” This necessitates preparation on the part of the steward, as in order to have portions available at the proper time, it will be necessary to save money and goods for the future. As Christians, there are many known and readily foreseeable “portions” that we ought to be ready to give at the proper time – perhaps a dowry, an inheritance, support for widows in the family, support for our parents, etc.

The wise and faithful steward does not ignore these responsibilities and dispense with all of the portions that God gives him “today”, thinking simplistically like a sluggard that makes no preparation for the seasons to come. We are not to “worry” about those proper times, but part of our responsibility in the present is to be making what preparations can be reasonably made, in order to be ready for “winter” and other events that we know will take place around us from time to time.

Having said that, it should be balanced by saying that ignoring true present needs in the body, in favor of hoarding wealth is dead wrong – and a big problem among Christians today. A primary example in my mind would be retirement accounts that lock away a person’s funds for many years and are unavailable for present use. This is arguably bad just from the individual family’s perspective, because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and its not wise to make our money unavailable for needs. But it is really bad that we could have widows, orphans, and serious needs within a church that go uncared for, while all the while members of the church never miss a payment to their retirement account. How abominable that a church could have a widow dependent upon Social Security while other members have significant amounts in 401k’s earning usury and unavailable to meet any needs within the church.

There are many reasons that Christians should make preparations for the future. Using the example of caring for one’s parents, part of the duty of the living is to provide for parents, and this is a foreseeable, definite, and knowable duty that we can either prepare for, or not prepare for. The laying up stores in order to perform this duty is a wise thing to do, and such saving is in itself a duty if we have the means to do so. As it relates to this discussion, we do not have the means to do so if there are actual present needs which we are refusing to meet. These needs must be ones for which we are responsible for, however. For example, we should not neglect to save for our own family in order to help meet the needs of a widow who has family – her family needs to accept this responsibility and not be enabled to sin by ignoring it. We shouldn’t fail to notice that the anathema was pronounced on the relatives – not the members of her church and community.

God requires a tithe for the poor, and makes other demands upon us to give them aid, such as not gleaning the corners of our fields and lending freely without usury. Likewise a righteous man is a cheerful giver, and not miserly. But God’s Word also tells us that a righteous man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Because the poor will always be among us, and always have been, the righteous man will necessarily need to forebear from trying to meet the needs of the whole world, and instead lay up some provision for his progeny. The ideal man of righteousness, according to the scriptures, does not die penniless, leaving his family nothing because he gave all to the poor. Of course the Bible is not saying that men like Jesus and Paul were not righteous men – they had no wife and no children, thus no responsibility to do this of course. They were unmarried and so able to devote themselves, and their possessions, fully to the Lord’s work. Paul pointed out, though, that those who are married literally have “another stewardship” besides the Lord – they have the additional duty for meeting the earthly needs of their spouses. Unlike Jesus and Paul, those Christians who are married do not have the freedom to devote themselves fully to the Lord, and in order to be faithful stewards we must not be like the sluggards, who know that “another season” approaches but do nothing to prepare for it. Instead we should learn a lesson from the ant, who prepares for the winter even though he doesn’t know it is coming.

We can reasonably predict that times will come for most families where income may be diminished or lost altogether for a period of time. Food and goods will not always be readily available at the local grocery store. Various useful tools of dominion may be hard to come by whether because of scarcity or political incorrectness. Fiat currency may become worthless. Gasoline and diesel fuel may experience temporary shortages or become prohibitively expensive. Our neighbors and fellow churchmen may experience times of financial hardship or distress.

These things should not take us by surprise. We should prepare for them. We should carefully think and plan so that we can provide what is needed “in due season.”

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