Learning to be a better steward by M. Jasmyn Allen

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There are four ‘currencies’ you must manage in life: Time, Intellect, Money and Emotion.

TIME wasted can never be regained. As the clock ticks, the sun sets and the seasons change, indicating that the months are rolling by. James 4 teaches that tomorrow is not promised, and we are operating within a limited window of time.

If time were like a silver coin and life were like a payphone, many of us would have been depositing our time coins only to watch the timer expire without sharing our salient points with the person on the receiving end. In a 24-hour day, most of our time is consumed by doing the less important things in life. We often defer pursuing our dreams or seizing the moment in the hope that a better opportunity will present itself in a future that is not promised. The late Dr Myles Monroe once said that the richest place on earth is the cemetery. It is the place where many who have run out of time departed with unfinished dreams never seeing the light of day.

We must therefore learn to be better stewards, and spend our currency of time more wisely.  Invest your time in areas that will bring you delight. Create a plan that outlines your goals and actions.  Use a diary to track how you use your time, to ensure you are balancing all the important areas, like your faith, family, friends, health, work, rest, etc.

INTELLECT takes years to achieve and should be rewarded. The fact that you are highly skilled did not occur overnight.  Remember the many hours of learning, long nights studying, the exams taken, or the hours spent perfecting your craft?  Remember the investments made to purchase the right tools for the job? This unique gift of knowledge you possess should be valued. 

Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are a gift from God.  Scriptural evidence can be found in Exodus 31, which states that God blessed Bezaleel (Bezalel) with every skill of workmanship, wisdom, knowledge and understanding for the building of the tabernacle.  Further evidence of this is also found in 1 Kings 3, which states that God blessed Solomon with wisdom when he was appointed king.  As with these two examples, the purpose of the gift is to build God’s Kingdom, but also note that this gift is an asset that should be rightly used in transactions for day-to-day living.

MONEY management is crucial.  In a world that pushes consumerism, credit purchasing, and ‘get rich quick’ schemes, as children of God, we must be extremely cautious not to fall into the trap of overextending ourselves or becoming overloaded with goods that are more likely to decrease in value. 

This year, pay closer attention to your financial management.  Are you living to survive, or are you aiming to thrive?  Is there an emotional imbalance in your relationship with money that is causing unnecessary spending? Enlist the support of a financial adviser, who can help you measure your income and expenditure, look at ways to introduce better saving or investment practices, and reduce splurging or credit purchases. 

A famous quote by James Frick states: “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money, and I will tell you what they are.” Remember to invest in yourself.  Do not shy away from spending money on seminars, books or classes where you can learn a new skill. 

EMOTION is the most valuable currency that you must learn to manage.  The Bible teaches us to guard our hearts, because out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).  Managing the transaction of what goes in, and how it is internalised then reciprocated in our words or deeds, is crucial to your success. This means you cannot afford to ‘loan your heart’ where you are not valued.  A heart decision will cause you to go leaps and bounds more than a head decision. It is likely that you will spend more money, time and intellect where there is an emotional connection. Therefore, always ask if it is worth getting emotionally involved, because the consequences of poor investment take time to repair. 

To conclude, then, take a few minutes to identify the areas that might require immediate change: 

  • Time: Are you spending enough time doing things that will help you achieve your goals? 
  • Intellect: Do you utilise your skills for the building of God’s Kingdom? Are you being compensated appropriately for your skills within the workplace?
  • Money: Are you making wise financial investments?
  • Emotion: Are you spending most of your energy and resources in areas that are beneficial to your growth?  

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