Following Him

Hail flattened all the fields for miles around. But not one hailstone touched my crops. You see, I return a faithful tithe.

Whenever I buy a house, the Lord sees that the prices are low. When I sell one, the prices are always high. That’s because I tithe faithfully.

I have often heard and marveled at those stories. And while I never deny God’s faithfulness in caring for His people, I have wondered why such good things don’t always happen to me in spite of my lifelong tithing practice.

In reality, I know that stewardship isn’t just about spectacular stories of protection or deliverance. It isn’t just about how “tithing pays.” It isn’t even just about money.

Stewardship is about life: a faithful life, a life lived under the lordship of Christ.

As a teenage youth, I had to struggle for an understanding of God. I found myself questioning the church, the Bible, even the reality of God’s existence. I wanted proofs. I wanted feelings. I wanted more than I could find.

I don’t know when God “found” me. But I recall clearly the day when my search ended, when after reading the Bible, I knew in my mind and heart that God was real and that He was my Friend. Satisfying evidence replaced my demand for absolute proofs. He was real, and I knew Him.

Then I heard Him say, “Follow Me. If you would know Me as your Friend, you must serve me as your Lord.”

I’ve sometimes followed from a distance. I’ve sometimes failed Him. And I’ve been disappointed when I didn’t receive what I hoped for out of life.

When my wife died of cancer, still clinging by faith to God’s promises, I faltered. When my son was diagnosed with an incurable illness, I asked hard questions. But even through such wrenching experiences, I knew He was saying, “When you follow Me, I will always walk with you, even through dark valleys. When I am your Lord, I am also your constant Friend.”

Certainly He has helped me buy automobiles that lasted longer than usual. He has protected me from accidents and disasters. I found reliable renters for the home I couldn’t sell. He blessed me with a beautiful daughter and two loving grandchildren. But the greatest stewardship testimony I can share is this: When I follow Him, He stays by my side. When I serve Him as Lord, He is also my unfailing Friend.

And that, I believe, is the fruitage of genuine stewardship.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

By Phil Follett

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