Could you suggest some scripture or principles that I could study - or perhaps address in Biblegems — on how we who have been blessed can best be good stewards?
In 2 Corinthians 9 the apostle Paul points out that God has specifically selected some people to have more material wealth and resources than others for the express purpose of sharing with those in need. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11).
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus likewise describes God as intentionally giving resources to people in varying amounts, giving each person the responsibility of investing those resources wisely, regardless of the amount initially entrusted to them. In both passages God is represented as the owner and provider of the resources we have, and we are represented as stewards or managers of His resources for the benefit of His Kingdom. We will all have to give an account of how those resources entrusted to us were put to use (Matt. 25:19).
Nevertheless, God has also intended that we provide for our selves and our families (Prov. 6:6-8; 1 Tim. 5:8), and that we enjoy the fruit from the work of our hands, so long as we remember we work for the Lord and not for ourselves. … For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands (Is. 65:22).
God also does not want His children feeling guilty for enjoying a cup of Starbucks coffee simply because there are people living in poverty whom we have not yet helped. As Jesus reminded His disciples, You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me (John 12:8). The context for this statement was when Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet at Lazarus’ house, and Judas Iscariot objected on the grounds that the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor.
The principle of biblical stewardship of material resources is simple: God owns it all (Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26); we are to manage those resources for His Kingdom and His glory (Matt. 25:1ff) and provide for our necessities; and we are to enjoy the goodness of the Lord’s bounty, even as we share generously with those who are less fortunate.
For further study on what the Bible has to say on the use of money and the principles of biblical stewardship, I heartily recommend Crown Financial Ministries at www.crown.org . They provide a rich variety of teaching tools and helps for personal, small group and church use.