Stewardship

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Ralph Zehr

By Ralph Zehr, New York, United States

Once again Urantia Foundation is nearing the end of its fiscal year. This year, more than most, offers ample opportunity for all who are so minded to participate in supporting its mission of seeding The Urantia Book and its teachings globally, translating the revelation into many languages, and maintaining the text inviolate, according to the directives given to us in the Declaration of Trust. Carrying out this trust requires resources on material, intellectual, and spiritual levels. All of us have been given assets in all three of these categories, assets that each of us is expected to manage in a responsible manner. Given the diversity that characterizes each individual, no two have received the exact same combinations of assets. No one, therefore, can dictate how another's assets should be distributed, but we are expected to be good stewards of all that has been given us.

You and I have been entrusted with a set of basic assets. We each have received from our parents a massive genetic library containing the biochemical blueprint of the marvelous human body we each occupy. Additional material assets that may contribute to each of our lives are our families, educational opportunities, and possibility for material wealth. Our personality, entrusted to us “at the moment of birth,” brings the gift of personal choice enabling us—within well-prescribed boundaries—to lead the life of our choosing. 37:3.7 (409.4) We all have the prospect of a lifetime filled with choices.

Superimposed on the material assets are the spiritual gifts, including a prepersonal Deity fragment from the Father; the Spirit of Truth, the actual spirit of Jesus shed abroad in our world waiting to lead us into the truth that makes us free; the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of our Local Universe Mother Spirit, who pervades our environment and embraces us with every imaginable spiritual sustenance; and the adjutant mind-spirits, an additional gift from the Mother Spirit, which facilitates our abilities to think, recognize reality, be creative, truly worship, and achieve wisdom.

In addition to all of this, you and I have been privileged to be the recipients of the fifth epochal revelation to our planet which paints for us a picture of Jesus’ life and teachings. It serves as a beacon of light illuminating our every step along the pathway that he has lovingly cleared for us, leading to the Father at the center of everything.

Jesus pronounced a universe principle—that is, that expectations for returns on investments are proportional to our assets—when he said, “Remember, much has been given to you; therefore will much be required of you.” 165:6.3 (1824.6) This principle provides a foundation upon which the concept of stewardship is based. It is widely practiced by beings throughout the universe, both low and high. Our midwayer cousins apprise us, “In the next world you will be asked to give an account of the endowments and stewardships of this world. Whether inherent talents are few or many, a just and merciful reckoning must be faced.” 176:3.8 (1918.1) We are told that Adjusters “will give good account of their stewardship.” 110:4.4 (1207.4) Adam and Eve’s one hundred children “were all in commission as faithful stewards of universe trust.” 74:1.5 (829.1)

When asked how best to manage wealth as a steward, Jesus responded, “If you honestly desire to regard your wealth as a trust, if you really wish to become a wise and efficient steward of your accumulated wealth, then would I counsel you . . .” 132:5.2 (1462.3) After Jesus had given instruction concerning the ten basic categories from which wealth may arise, he further advised, “And so, my friend, if you would be a faithful and just steward of your large fortune, before God and in service to men . . .” (a proposition which he fully embraced). 132:5.13 (1463.7) Jesus shone as an example of stewardship in service of God and men as he lived his earthly life on Urantia.

Jesus’ most direct and comprehensive statement concerning the proper attitude toward personal wealth was given to an inquirer who asked, “‘Is it a sin to possess honest wealth?’ And Jesus replied to this question: ‘My friend, it is not a sin to have honorable wealth; but it is a sin if you convert the wealth of material possessions into treasures which may absorb your interests and divert your affections from devotion to the spiritual pursuits of the kingdom. There is no sin in having honest possessions on earth provided your treasure is in heaven, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also. There is a great difference between wealth which leads to covetousness and selfishness and that which is held and dispensed in the spirit of stewardship by those who have an abundance of this world’s goods, and who so bountifully contribute to the support of those who devote all their energies to the work of the kingdom.’” 165:4.5 (1821.5)

Each day you and I make choices concerning how we distribute the assets we possess. We make expenditures of our time, passion, intellectual gifts, spiritual concepts, and material assets. Someone has said that every day we add to the autobiographic record of our true aspirations and desires as we authorize distribution of our financial assets. How completely have you overcome the temptation to consider wealth a treasure? How well are you managing the assets entrusted to you? Are the assets you wish to maintain secure? Are you taking full advantage of the risk-free investment environment? Our generation has been given so much by our Master. Is your cosmic investment strategy sound?

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