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The Challenge Of Stewardship

Fasting and prayer are not only commanded in the Bible, they’re wise actions. Throughout the Bible, effective prayer is shown to include elements of adoration, confession, and commitment, as well as requests. Our prayer must be accompanied by a willingness to obey with our actions. We see this in countless verses, including Nehemiah 1:4-11 and Exodus 14:15.

Jesus and His disciples set an example of fasting, not only from food but from other things as well. Public, national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate divine favor were also sometimes held: 1 Sam. 7:6, Acts 13:3 and Acts 14:23.

In addition, we as Christians are called to be good stewards of our money and resources. While there are many aspects of this, one is controlling our level of consumption. We are cautioned throughout the Bible to guard our hearts and level of intake: Deuteronomy 8:12-14 and Ecclesiastes 4:4-8, 13.

[THE CHALLENGE]

Choose one day to abstain from shopping, perhaps a weekend day or an entire weekend. Make no purchases. Use this time to reflect on God’s provision and our responsibility as Christians with what we have been given dominion over. The following are nine key passages to reflect on. Additional reading sources have been listed at the bottom of the page.

I realized the reason people work hard and try to succeed: They are jealous of each other. This too, is useless, like chasing the wind.

Some say it is foolish to fold your hands and do nothing,

because you will starve to death.

Maybe so, but I say it is better to be content

with what little you have.

Otherwise, you will always be struggling for more,

and that is like chasing the wind.

Again I saw something here on earth that was useless:

I saw a man who had no family,

no son or brother.

He always worked hard

but he was never satisfied with what he had.

He never asked himself, "For whom am I working so hard?

Why don’t I let myself enjoy life?"

This is also very sad and useless.

A poor but wise boy is better than a foolish but old king who doesn’t listen to advice.

— Ecclesiastes 4:4-8, 13

There are many people who refuse to cooperate, who talk about worthless things and lead others into the wrong way – mainly those who say all who are not Jews must be circumcised. These people must be stopped, because they are upsetting whole families by teaching things they should not teach, which they do to get rich by cheating people.

— Titus 1:10-11

When you eat all you want and build nice houses and live in them, when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase, when you have more of everything, then your heart will become proud. You will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves.

— Deuteronomy 8:12-14

Israel grew fat and kicked;

they were fat and full and firm.

They left the God who made them

and rejected the God who saved them.

— Deuteronomy 32:15

Keep me from lying and being dishonest.

And don’t make me either rich or poor;

just give me enough food for each day.

If I have too much, I might reject you

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and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’

If I am poor, I might steal

and disgrace the name of my God.

— Proverbs 30:8-9

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul!

— Isaiah 55:2

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

— Phillipians 4:11-13

Jesus went over to the collection box in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two pennies. He called his disciples to him and said, "I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has."

— Mark 12:41-44

But if anyone has enough money to live well, and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help-how can God’s love be in that person?

— 1 John 3:17

Additional Readings:

For They Shall Be Fed — edited by Ronald J. Sider

A book composed soley of catagorized scripture and prayers.

Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger — Ronald J. Sider

A book dealing with the modern Western Church and our relationship to our money and resources.

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