Stewardship with the Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

Stewardship with the Teachable Spirit

Attending a real estate seminar recently, the teachable spirit learned that owning property could create vulnerability and can lead to unwanted responsibility. For example, an owner is responsible for paying real estate taxes to the government and can potentially be sued for liability should an individual injure themselves on the premises.

Thinking about this idea juxtaposed with the thought that in all reality, we take nothing with us when we leave this world, so how can we own anything anyway, what came to mind was the story of Joseph. I always thought Joseph was a wealthy man, but in thinking about it with this idea in mind, I realized that, honestly, he was an employee of the state.

Originally uploaded by Irish_Eyes to Morguefile.com

Originally uploaded by Irish_Eyes to Morguefile.com

Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold [grain] to all the people of the land.

–Genesis 42:6

Sure, he could come and go as he pleased, lived in a nice home, and was married to Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, but at the end of the day, the profits he earned went into Pharaoh’s coffers.

Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured. –Genesis 41:46-49

Joseph was not wealthy but he CONTROLLED the wealth. That was the point the teachable spirit learned at the real estate seminar:

Assessing my needs has meant realizing that caring for a home is time consuming and does not fit the lifestyle of travel, which will be a big part of my future.

Assessing my needs has meant realizing that caring for a home is time consuming and does not fit the lifestyle of travel, which will be a big part of my future.

Put property in a trust and manage it, but take your name off of it completely, which then puts you in a less vulnerable situation. That is what Joseph did. He stored up the grain in cities to such an extent that he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.

What was Joseph doing?

He was being a STEWARD of what God had given into his hand, which was:

  • wisdom
  • authority
  • opportunity
  • spiritual acuity

Joseph was wealthy in a way that caused wealth to be attracted to him, but then he retained his teachable spirit, humbly accepting all that wealth on behalf of the Pharaoh, deflecting the vulnerability that comes with ownership, and retaining the honor that is attached to stewardship.

Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought.

We are stewards of our children for a time; eventually, they grow up and find the purpose God put them on this earth to fulfill. Natalie holding Ty, next to my daughter, Amy, June 2014. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

We are stewards of our children for a time; eventually, they grow up and find the purpose God put them on this earth to fulfill. Natalie holding Ty, next to my daughter, Amy, June 2014. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

We do anything to protect our little ones; Tiberius (Ty) Van Mechelen, June 2014. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

We do anything to protect our little ones; Tiberius (Ty) Van Mechelen, June 2014. Photo by Isaac V. Photography.

Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s. –Genesis 47:13-26

Being grateful that the teachable spirit had the opportunity to consider this concept of ownership in a fresh light, I am thankful to find balance in a world of extremes.

My icon of stewardship: my 1984 El Camino originally purchased by my Grandfather Cannon in December of 1983, which I have gratefully inherited. Circle C was his brand, June 2014.

My icon of stewardship: my 1984 El Camino originally purchased by my Grandfather Cannon in December of 1983, which I have gratefully inherited. Circle C was his brand, June 2014.

Stewardship of our resources, whatever they may be, small or great, is part of the cornerstone of living a life that honors God.

Joseph fulfilled this role with zeal, providing many people the opportunity to survive in a hostile environment, and allowing them to continue pursuing their own life without cessation.This was his job, which he faithfully fulfilled receiving his salary from the government while maintaining control of the wealth, but not owning it. He was committed to the task God had given him to do as scripture says,

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

–I Corinthians 4:2

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