Stewardship – Man as Instructor
Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. -- 2 Chronicles 9:22 ESV
Who is the richest person in the world? According to CEOWorld, it is currently Tesla founder Elon Musk. He has a net worth of roughly $254.6 billion, followed by Gautam Adani at $149.6 billion, Bernard Arnault at $141.8 billion, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at $137.2 billion, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates with $102.5 billion.
Yet, King Solomon amassed a fortune greater than all five men combined. According to Wealth Result, Solomon’s net worth today would be $2.1 trillion! Can you imagine? Not only did Solomon gather so much gold and silver that the latter was “as common in Jerusalem as stone” (v. 27), but he also married foreign (idol worshipping) wives, presumably to strengthen alliances and further his accumulation of wealth (see 8:11; 1 Kings 11:1-8). Additionally, Solomon imported horses from Egypt and elsewhere (v. 28), building 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots and supporting 12,000 horsemen (v. 25), presumably to protect his wealth and kingdom.
Why is Solomon’s accumulation of war horses, wives, and wealth significant? In Deuteronomy 17, God lays down the rules for kings, and v. 16-17 apply to Solomon directly:
Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, “You shall never return that way again.” And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
God had forbidden all three areas of Solomon’s activity. In light of his failure to obey God’s clear instructions for kings, it is unsurprising that Solomon’s heart turned away from the Lord in his later years. His tragic dance with idolatry sowed seeds of destruction for generations.
Nevertheless, by the end of 2 Chronicles 9, Solomon died as the world’s richest man. Yet, he left it all behind. That is true for all of us, rich or poor. Like Solomon, each of us is only a steward of all we possess. A steward is basically one who manages the possessions that belong to another, namely God. With all that we have, all of us are stewards of the resources, abilities, and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care. Like the servants in the Parable of the Talents, one day, every person will be called to give an account to the one who owns it all for how we have cared for and used what we have possessed. As Instructors, we should take the time to explain this important concept of stewardship to those in our charge. Furthermore, we should set an example of good stewardship in all we have that rightly is the Lord’s.
Jesus gave us the proper perspective on wealth in Luke 12:15: “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” More than full bank accounts and abundant material assets, God has given us even greater possessions to steward. He has given us forgiveness and life through His Son and gifts through His Spirit. God has given us families and loved ones who trust us to lead them. God has given us freedom in the greatest nation on earth. There is little excuse for us not to be faithful stewards of all God has given us! When we live as men of God knowing this truth and passing along a proper example of what true stewardship looks like, we truly enrich those God allows us to influence.
- What is your most prized possession? What would your family say is the most important thing in your life today? How can you be a better steward of it?
- Does your stewardship of God’s gifts in your life effectively communicate the biblical model? How are you teaching this concept of stewardship to those in your charge?
- Ask God to help you weigh all that He has given you, place it in proper priority, and steward it well as an example for those in your charge.