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Online Bible Studies: Treasures of Darkness – Week 5

Hello, sweet friends!  I just finished re-reading this week’s homework, and I will never tire of reminding myself of the truths tucked within the pages.  To hold things loosely.  And thankfully.  To breathe deep when I want to hold that same breath and scream in frustration.  To stretch myself after Him when I’d rather curl up in hunger and want.

I was studying this morning about stewardship.  And what a steward looks like.  What the responsibility entails.  How the job description looks.  It turns out that a good steward is not only a trusted manager of an estate (and sometimes even a family), but also a dispenser.  Someone who parcels out food from a home or grazing to animals.  When you are stewarding, you are giving out things that don’t belong to you.  Literally dispensing grace.

And I thought about that as I re-read about contentment this evening.  And how a steward cannot get caught up in want.  Because when he does, he ends up withholding.  Not giving out the things he would rather keep for himself.  And the people who are in need of that parceled-out-food?  They’re left hungry.  In a way, discontentment starves the people who would otherwise benefit from the glory-filled calling He has placed on our lives.  I’m not sure I’ve ever realized the true impact of that.  The repercussion of less-than-stellar-stewardship.

In this study, I talk a lot about digging.  It’s something I talk a lot about in general – digging deeper into Scripture.  Digging for the treasures.  Digging for the mysteries that only His Spirit reveals.  And as I read the story in Luke 16, the overwhelming importance of responsible stewardship that is fueled by contentment about blew me off my chair.

It’s the story of a rich man who had a steward that was accused of wasting goods.  Squandering them.  Not parceling his master’s possessions out the way he should.  And the not-so-successful-steward was confronted.  And told to get everything in order because he was about to be fired.  And then the domino-effect-reality caught up with him.

What am I going to do? he cried.  This stewardship was taken from me.  I cannot dig.

And as soon as I read those words, I thought about the instant ramifications of being less-than-successful at stewarding in my own life.  Not sharing my story because I’m tired of talking about it.  Or the topic of grief and waiting and suffering and loss is too heavy.  Too dark.  So I’m just going to stop parceling out for awhile.  But digging??  That’s what I do.  And if I don’t steward the thing He’s given me well just because I prefer to parcel out someone else’s goods?  I will no longer be able to dig.

Oh LORD, teach me continual contentment that I might steward well.

this week in review

Let’s chat!  This week was meaty and I can’t wait to hear about the things that really moved you!

Day One:

Re-visit the end of Day One and the part about the miner stopping off the water from the flowing pits. And then allowing the water that remains to be made sweet.  Where can you allow God to sweeten your existing water-circumstances rather than draining them and wanting new water?

Day Two:

Re-read Romans 9:20-23, paying attention to the last verse.  What is your dipped-in-gold-calling?  The one that displays the riches of His glory?  What do you feel like He has prepared for you to glorify Him best?

Day Three:

In what ways are you suffering from want when you can rest in contentment?

Day Four:

Have you ever experienced an unfulfilled dream or unanswered prayer?  Describe a real-life example in which contentment, for you, was really stubbornness softened.

Day Five:

What are you witholding from God that you are afraid to lose?

a peek at next week

As we close our chapter on contentment, we open another one that’s difficult to understand.  Affliction.  And what it really looks like in a believer’s life.  In the introduction, I talk about how sometimes affliction feels like your spiritual muscles are on a thirty-day shred.  As I sit here writing this, my 26-weeks-pregnant-belly-muscles are feeling stretched tight.  And I smile.  Because I know that there is glory in the stretching.  And that stretching always leads to something good.  Always.

In all their affliction, He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them; in His love and pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.
Isaiah 63:9

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