October 18 – LD 42, Day 4: The Thankful Christian’s Exercise of Stewardship
Thursday the 18th of October
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Ephesians 4:28 - “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
The eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” implicitly requires us to labour. It is by working that God normally puts in our possession those goods by which we must serve Him as stewards. In addition, we faithfullylabour in order to have something to give to those in need. Also implied, and stated explicitly throughout Scripture, is our calling to seek first the kingdom of God, even in the application of our stewardship. The fruit of loving the neighbour in our use of the earthly things God gives us is that we relieve those who are truly in need, and support wholeheartedly the causes of the kingdom of heaven.
It is indeed the work of Christ in us that fills our hearts with a desire to give to the causes of His kingdom. The thankful Christian will not steal from the cause of Christ and use God’s good gifts for his own benefit and pleasure, but will first give with willingness of heart, knowing by experience that God loves a cheerful giver (II Cor 9:7b). The apostle, writing in II Cor 8:2, testified that the churches in Macedonia were faithful in such exercise of stewardship. They are set before us as an example of what ought to characterize us. Though living in deep poverty, they gave liberally for the cause of Christ’s church and for those in need. They did so, said the apostle, for this reason: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor 8:9).
The thankful Christian, seeing his deliverance from the bondage of sin and death through the precious gift of Christ, honours the Lord with his substance and with the firstfruits of all his increase (Prov 3:9). Do we live that way? Do we live with an understanding of the foundational principle of the eighth commandment, that God Himself owns all things, and that He is the giver of every good and perfect gift?