Faithful Stewards in the Amazon Jungle
I recently had an opportunity to contribute to the 11th edition of the Bible Bee Alumni Group e-newsletter. (You can learn more about the National Bible Bee here). Today I’m excited to share my article on stewardship – and thank you, Brittany S., for this opportunity!
Peru is a land of soaring mountains and sweltering heat, snow-capped Andes and verdant Amazon jungle. Recently I had the opportunity to visit this marvelous region. In a remote jungle town, I found something surprising.
I found a church with faithful stewards. It certainly isn’t what I was expecting to find. I expected mosquitoes, coconuts, and piranhas. I planned to visit a run-down town in primitive conditions. Instead, I was surprised. In a place where I least expected it, I found a community of men and women who are wise and faithful stewards.
The pastor of this jungle church rises at 3:30 AM every day to program a radio station. The radio broadcasts the Bible to remote people groups. The electrical cost for this ministry is shared between several churches because it costs almost as much as a church brings in.
The church also has a water ministry that provides safe water for the entire town. They have planted churches in many remote jungle areas. They host a conference that helps train pastors in this region.
Why do I mention all this? Not because I am trying to hold them up as the perfect church, or to put the emphasis on a jungle community in Peru. I mention this because I can’t help but think of this church when I think about faithful and wise stewardship.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus gave a story about servants, or stewards, who were given coins by their Master. They had a simple task: to manage the money wisely and faithfully. The story is a picture of our Christian lives. God gives us different resources: time, money, opportunities, and relationships. He asks us to manage these resources wisely and faithfully for his kingdom.
The jungle church that I visited is serious about stewardship. They do more, with less, than almost any American church that I have visited. Their example challenges me. It makes me ask questions. Am I using my resources wisely, to promote God’s kingdom? Do I view my resources as gifts for me to enjoy, or as resources for God’s kingdom? Am I wise in how I use my resources? I hope that you will ask yourself these questions as well.
On the other hand, I have a note of caution for you. I used to think too much about what I could do for God, and not enough about God’s sovereignty. I used to think that, if I worked hard, I could increase God’s kingdom. I used to think that it was up to me. I focused on the results, not on faithfulness. God doesn’t call you to put the primary focus on results. He calls you to faithful stewardship. Don’t fall into the trap that I fell into.
I hope that you are challenged in both directions. Don’t focus on what you can personally do for the kingdom – without God’s blessing, you can’t do anything! Instead, focus on being a wise and faithful steward. Let the example of the jungle church inspire you. God can use ordinary people, in challenging situations, to grow His kingdom. Leave the results in God’s hands, but do all you can for Him.