Chapter 16 – The Media
Chapter 17 – The Word of Wisdom
Chapter 19 – Responsibility
Chapter 20 – School and Learning
Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – Consecration
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Chapter 9 – Chastity
Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
Chapter 15 – The Sabbath
Chapter 16 – PornographyChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlChapter_16.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2shapeimage_3_link_3shapeimage_3_link_4shapeimage_3_link_5shapeimage_3_link_6shapeimage_3_link_7shapeimage_3_link_8shapeimage_3_link_9
Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models
Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
Chapter 6 – Bullying
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
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It’s Materialism & Idolatry vs. Stewardship & Consecration!!!

The Temptation to Think Doctrines of Stewardship and Consecration Is Only For Adults and “There’s No Need To Learn About This Yet”

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? 

And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? 

     them that are weaned from the milk,

     and drawn from the breasts.

(Isaiah 28:9)

     This shows us that the Lord wants us to start learning all the doctrines of the gospel, including about Stewardship and Consecration, when we’re still a baby, when we’re just starting to eat solid food.

     Also, these lines tell us that the younger we are when we learn all these things, the more the Lord can get us to understand.  We can’t learn this stuff too soon. 

     We need the doctrines of Stewardship in our youth, because they lay the foundation for why we should take care of things and increase our talents and become self-reliant and productive.  Learning these things will help us resist the ever-present pull of the world, with its increasing adoration of riches and idleness.  You’ll also escape the problems and curses that come from that adoration, like debt and idolatry and envy and greed and sloth.

     You need to learn the doctrines of Consecration, because they teach us why we should share and give freely.  Learning these things will help us resist the worldly urge to show off and increase our desire to be generous, which also helps us escape discontent.  Consecration will bring blessings of security so amazing it confounds the wisdom of the world.

     In the following three chapters, the first is on Stewardship, the second is on Idolatry, and the last is on Consecration, but in a few places they overlap and reference each other.  Discerning and resisting idolatry builds on what you learn about stewardship, and figuring out ways of consecrating builds on what you learn about avoiding idolatry.  

Part 1 - Stewardship

The Temptation to Be Greedy

The Temptation to Think That What You Have Belongs to YOU

The Temptation to Think Only About Yourself

Yea, they are all greedy dogs

which can never have enough,

     and they are shepherds that cannot understand:

they all look to their own way,

every one for his gain,

from his quarter.

(Isaiah 56:11)

     [T]hey are all greedy dogs which can never have enough. . . they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter - Isaiah has us pegged perfectly.  He points out that we always want more, More, MORRRRE!  We look to our own way.  We want to spend our money the way we want, and we don’t want anyone to tell us what we should do with it.  We want to know “what’s in it for me”, always looking for our own gain.  We can’t see past the end of our own noses and notice that other people are in need, because we’re too busy looking out for our own interests, as Isaiah says, everyone “from his quarter”.  If this isn’t greed, I don’t know what else it could be.

     So why does he call us “dogs” and “shepherds that can’t understand”?  I have a hunch that he means we are like sheepdogs in charge of a flock.  Except we don’t understand we’re just the sheepdog.  We think we’re the owner.  In the same way, we don’t understand that everything we think is ours actually belongs to the Lord.  We don’t really own anything, nor can we.  We are only the Lord’s stewards.  If we are the Lord’s stewards, then it is no surprise that He tells us things we should do with our stewardships.

     It is very important for you to learn and impress this most basic doctrine upon your mind and heart, so practice getting this idea into your mind.  (Say it at least six times to yourself – “I am the Lord’s steward.”)  Think about the clothes you wear.  They aren’t your clothes.  They belong to the Lord and He has given them to you as a stewardship.  The bed you sleep in belongs to the Lord, but He has given it to you as a stewardship.  The iPod, the cell phone, the stereo, the computer, the cell phone, the money, the room, the car, books, the CDs, the video games, and everything, it all belongs to the Lord, and He has given it to you as a stewardship to test you to see if you will obey Him when He asks you to use it to help people.

     Whenever you find yourself starting to want and want and want again, you must remind yourself that everything you have belongs to the Lord and that you are just His steward.  I have to remind myself of this often too.

     The wonderful thing about knowing we are the Lord’s stewards is, this eternal perspective causes greed to disappear.  If you don’t really own anything, but are just a steward, there isn’t any reason to be greedy.  Further, if we are stewards, our responsibility is no longer just ourselves, but others around us.

The Temptation to Think the Lord Won’t Judge Us On How We Used Our Stewardship

15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts,


get thee unto this treasurer,

even unto Shebna,

which is over the house,

and say,

16      What hast thou here?. . .

(Isaiah 22:15-16)

     [G]et thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house – Here the Lord instructed Isaiah to go talk to a treasurer.  Shebna may have been over the king’s house or he may have been over the temple treasury. 

     [A]nd say, What hast thou here?- The Lord wanted Isaiah to ask Shebna to account for his stewardship and find out what he had done with it.

     The lesson here for us that we will also be required to give an account of our stewardships to the Lord (or His prophets) and tell what we have done with it. “That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.  For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures”  (Doctrine & Covenants 104:12-13).  We will be very happy if we can say that we have been a wise steward.

     We already give a very limited accounting of our stewardship every year when we go to tithing settlement and say to the bishop if we are a full tithe payer or not.  However, we will get the Big Kahuna of all accountability interviews when Judgment Day comes, so it behooves us to prepare, because our eternal inheritance is at stake.  Christ said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.  If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12)  Clearly, the way we use the Lord’s stuff that He’s given us in this life determines whether we will own something in the next life.

The Temptation to Neglect Your Stewardship

His watchmen are blind:

     they are all ignorant,

          they are all dumb dogs,

          they cannot bark;


               lying down,

               loving to slumber.

(Isaiah 56:10)

     This scripture goes back to the sheepdog metaphor.  Here Isaiah gives us several characteristics of neglectful stewards: blind, ignorant, dumb (meaning silent), sleeping, lying down, loving sleep (meaning laziness).  It may seem like it is no big deal to neglect something that belongs to us, but after learning that the things in our care really belong to the Lord, we realize that neglect is a sin.  Isaiah tells us these things  to help us avoid being a neglectful steward.

     His watchmen are blind - A blind steward is one that can’t see anything wrong with his stewardship, even when it is obvious to everyone else that something is wrong.  (“Freddy, clean your room!  It’s messy!  It reminds me of a landfill!”   “But Mooommm, I don’t see anything wrong with it!”)  When I was first learning how to pick up my room, I did a bad job of it, and my mom would have to come and point to the things I had not picked up.  I simply hadn’t seen them.   

     It is also true that whenever something is wrong with our stuff and we can’t do anything about it right away, we have a tendency to start to ignore the problem so that it doesn’t bother us, and soon we don’t notice it anymore.  This is how we make ourselves blind.  At the times when I got out of the habit of making my bed every day, soon it didn’t bother me as much to see an unmade bed, because I became blind to its messiness.  This is the blindness that Isaiah is condemning.  In order to be good stewards, we must see what’s wrong as a first step in making it right.

     [T]hey are all ignorant - An ignorant steward is one who has no idea how to take care of his or her stewardship properly, so he or she just lets it go to rack and ruin, or makes someone else take care of it.  (“Susy, do your laundry!”  “But Mommmmm, I don’t know howwwwww!”) 

     I think I was about six or seven years old when my Mom taught me how to do my own laundry and put it away.  When I was a teenager I learned how to iron, and my dad frequently paid me to iron his shirts for him.  I didn’t like doing it very much, especially since he always gave me so many to do at once, so I learned how to do it extra efficiently to get it over with.  I learned how to replace buttons and even how to mend knit sweaters that got holes in them. During my first year at college, I taught another girl how to iron her shirts.  She had never learned how to iron the wrinkles out of her clothes.  I have heard of college students who didn’t know how to do their own laundry, so they let it pile up and took it home to their Mom to wash.  Don’t let yourself become one of their number.

     You need to learn how to take care of your stewardship while you can, because if wait until you’re an adult, there’s not much time available for practice and making mistakes and fixing them.  The time for learning and practicing is now so that taking care of your stewardship becomes a habit, a practice that is so automatic that you don’t whine about it or need to agonize and deliberate about it, but just do it easily and quickly. 

     [T]hey are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark  - A dumb (or silent) steward is one that doesn’t warn others when something is wrong with their stewardship so that they can fix it quickly.  If you think your friend’s computer has a virus, say so.  If your friend’s car is making scary noises and you know that any minute the engine will fall out of their car, say so.  If someone’s zipper is down, say so.  (But do it privately to spare them public embarrassment!)  “Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor. . .” (Doctrine & Covenants 82:19)

     [S]leeping, lying down, loving to slumber  - A steward that is “sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” is one that is lazy and slothful.  (“Bobby, don’t you have homework to do?”  “Moommmmm, I’m so tiredddddd!  I’ll do it laterrrrr.”)  The temptation to be lazy or procrastinate caring for our stewardship (and yes, homework is a stewardship!) is really the voice of the devil whispering to us, “All is well; school prospereth, work prospereth, Zion prospereth, all is well; no need to be anxiously engaged jusssst yettttt…”  Thus the devil cheateth our souls of the chance to become active, strong, capable stewards, and drags us down to the hell of an inert, couch potato existence.  On the other hand, the Lord tells us, “Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward”  (Doctrine & Covenants 136:27).  Diligence is all about steady, energetic effort.

     When we are diligent, we become what the world calls “self-starting”.  We don’t wait to be assigned work, or wait for a crisis to appear, we go looking for things that need to be done and take care of it.

     You can learn to be self-starting and diligent at home starting today.  This skill will be absolutely precious to you and everyone around you throughout the rest of your life, because everyone will know that they won’t have to tell you what needs to be done or hang over you to make sure you do it all.  You’ll become like Joseph in Egypt, who was such a good steward his supervisors knew they didn’t have to even check on him. 

     The first thing you can do to be self-starting is to look around your room each time you go into it and ask yourself what needs to be done.  (This is how I started out.)  “Is my room neat?  Does my laundry need to be done?”  Neaten your room, and do your laundry.  Then ask yourself if you have any chores that need to be done.  If you do, do them.  Then ask yourself if you have any homework to do.  Do your homework.  Then ask yourself whether you have any reports or projects for school that are coming up that you could work on for 30 minutes or so.  If so, do it.  Ask yourself whether you have said your prayers and read your scriptures yet.  If you haven’t, do that.  Then think some more about what your responsibilities are, and see if you have missed anything.  If you can do this, you are one awesome teenager!  If you are really determined, you can even start looking around the rest of the house to see if there is stuff that needs to be put away or cleaned and attend to what needs to be done.  (If you were to do that, I’ll bet your parents would probably faint with happiness!)

     There was one time when the huge limb of a tree in our back yard suddenly collapsed to the ground.  The branch had rotted where it joined the trunk and it could no longer support its own weight.  My parents weren’t home, so I decided that I would call a tree service and ask them to come and cut it up.  My parents were rather surprised that I took such initiative. 

     Another time, a light bulb of the truck’s taillight burned out and my dad had me go get a new one so that he could replace it after work.  After I got it for him, I thought, “Hmm… my dad is very busy.  I think I should change it for him.”  In trying to do this, I discovered the screws holding on the taillight cover were different from normal screws (I found out later they were “torques” screws) and needed a particular kind of screwdriver.  I had to pray for help to find where my dad kept those special screwdrivers, but I found them and changed the bulb myself.  My dad was very impressed. 

     Another time, I came home and noticed that the bushes in from of our house were rather overgrown.  So I found my dad’s bush trimmer and did it myself.  My dad was very pleased with me.

     As you can see, being self-starting is acting on your own to do what you see needs to be done, and being diligent is continuing to act until everything is done that you see needs to be done. 

     This may seem like a lot of work to always be looking for things that need to be done and doing them, but it is actually how you decrease the amount of work to do.  (Funny how that happens, huh?)  When you are self-starting and diligent all the time, you will find that as you are looking for things to do a lot of the time things are already done, because you already took care of it and it doesn’t need to be done again for a while.  That’s when you can go play!  Yaaaaayyy! 

     My dad worked hard to teach my siblings and I to be self-starting.  He was always telling us to put things away if we saw they were out, even if we weren’t the ones that got them out.

     Here’s an illustration of the consequences of neglectful stewardship.

Thy tacklings are loosed;

they could not well strengthen their mast,

they could not spread the sail:

     then is the prey of a great spoil divided;

     the lame take the prey.

(Isaiah 33:23)

     Thy tacklings are loosed - Here we have sailors on a warship who didn’t take care of the tacklings, which were the ropes.  Their discipline was really loose, so their ropes were really loose too.  Maybe they thought it was too much trouble to take care of the ropes.  As a result, when they got into the thick of the battle, their mast (held up by the ropes) was wobbly and they couldn’t fix it in time (“they could not well strengthen the mast”), and they couldn’t get the sails to spread, the ropes spreading it out were too loose for the sail to catch the air and hold it, so of course they couldn’t sail fast enough to get away from the enemy.  As a result, the ship got captured, and looted.  In fact, because the ship was in such bad shape, “the lame take the prey”.  Even a slow ship limping along could catch up to them and beat them in battle.

     The lesson here is that if you have a stewardship, you have to take care of it so that it works like it should.  You have to keep it “shipshape”.  If you don’t, there will come moments when it will fail right when you most need it to work right.  In order for the car to not break down right when we have to get to the hospital emergency room we have to keep it fixed and change the oil and keep gas in it.  I only had to run out of gas once to learn to fill up a car’s gas tank when it got close to the E.  (That was sooo embarrassing!  It ran out of gas right when I was taking my brother and his cute friend home from an activity.) The skateboard has to be in good shape for it to come through that jump in one piece.  Same with the skis and the bike.  Without charging the cell phone and the iPod they won’t work when you need them. You have to keep your room clean and organized and always put things away in the same place, otherwise you won’t be able to find what you want when you need to run in, grab it, and go.  I can’t count how many times one of my roommates had to take ten minutes to search for her ID card and keys because she couldn’t remember the last place she put them.  I think this was another reason why my daddy was constantly telling us, “If you see something on the floor, put it away.  If you see something out, put it back.”  He let all of us kids use the tools at his workbench, and he constantly told us, “If you get it out, put it back.”  He was trying to teach us to keep things in good shape so that they’d be ready the next time anyone needed them. 

     An interesting word in this scripture is the word “spoil”.  Spoil is the loot from a capture, but in the context of stewardship, it also teaches us about waste.  The sailors were not taking care of the ship, so they let the ship go bad and get spoiled.  And after that, then the enemy looted and spoiled it too.  A beautiful ship went all to waste.

     Tangible things aren’t the only part of our stewardship that we can neglect and waste.  We have stewardships of space, and time, and money, and talents, and opportunities, and even a spiritual stewardship of doctrine, priesthood authority, and maybe even a church calling.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of this until we remember that there is a time and a place for everything.  Managing our time will make it so that we can manage the rest of our stewardship.  (It is also difficult to manage our stewardships properly unless we learn to be efficient.  Efficiency is all about optimizing the way you do things until you have found the fastest, most effective way of doing your duties.)

     When I was a junior in high school my life started to get really stressful and busy with lots of assignments, and church and school activities galore.  I discovered I had a hard time keeping track of it all.  There was too much to remember and that made it too easy to be neglectful.  I felt like I was juggling a million things and dropping balls all over the place.  I complained to my parents that I felt like I was losing control of my life.  A little while after this, my dad offered to pay for my brother and I to go to a Franklin Planner seminar and he would get us both Franklin planners if we would really use them.  I had watched my parents use their Franklin Planners, and I thought that would really help me, so I agreed, and that was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.  Using a planner really saved my skin throughout high school and college.  I carried it with me everywhere.  I wrote down my assignments and “to do” lists in it.  I wrote down my appointments and YW activities in it.  I kept track of when tests were, and in college I even achieved enough discipline to plan out and do my school projects piece by piece to keep from stressing over doing them at the least moment.  I wrote little snippets of journal entries in it about the cool things that happened to me throughout the day, like what guys had been nice to me, or little missionary experiences, and other things, so that I could write in my journal quickly and efficiently at the end of the day.  In short, it gave me control over my life, and enabled me to care for my stewardships properly.  I was no longer a leaf tossed about on the turbulent stream of events, I was an agent on my own behalf.  If Mom wanted me to baby-sit I could look at my planner and see if I had the time to do it.  I still use a planner, though it’s no longer a Franklin Planner.  Using a planner makes it possible to see when I have time to consecrate, so that I don’t over-commit myself and stress myself out.  I challenge you to learn how to use a planner to manage your time.  It will make a huge difference in your effectiveness and how much you’ll be able to accomplish.

     Now a word about the stewardship of space.  You each have a small space.  You may be lucky enough to have a whole room, or you may have a portion of a room.  That space is your stewardship and you are obligated to the Lord to take care of it.  If the Lord were to inspect the space given into your care, what would He think of it?  Would He consider it a delight, or “utter squalor”?  It’s a good bet that if your parents are always telling you to clean your room, the Lord would probably want you to clean your room too. 

     The thing I discovered about taking care of my room when I was a teenager was that it was much more efficient to keep it from getting messy than to clean it.  I learned that it was easier and faster to put clothes immediately into the dirty clothes hamper than to drop them on the floor and have to pick them up later and put them in the hamper.  When I didn’t think my clothes were dirty enough to wash yet, I put them away right after taking them off.  When I did my laundry, I found that if I hung up my clothes in the closet right after they were done drying, they didn’t get wrinkly and require ironing.  I discovered that making my bed automatically made the room look neater, because it was such a large portion of the visible surface area in my room.  I learned that having a lot of things out looked messy and cluttered, so I learned to put things away out of sight.  I learned that using a storage box with lots of little drawers helped me keep control of various little trifles and gave me a special place to keep each thing, and this made my room look neat too.  While many of my siblings periodically had to spend hours cleaning up their rooms, I never had to, because I kept mine clean.  I could use that time doing other things.  After a while my parents stopped checking my room, because they knew it would always be neat.

     So what is the result of being a watchful, careful steward?

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places:

thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;

and thou shalt be called,

The repairer of the breach,

The restorer of paths to dwell in.

(Isaiah 58: 12)

     [A]nd thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in  - When Isaiah says we’ll be called “repairer of the breach”, to me it sounds a lot like “Mr. Fix-it”  or “Miss Fixit”. When we are careful, watchful stewards, we will naturally become good at fixing things to keep them from getting spoiled.  In becoming a good steward over my clothes, I naturally learned about how to mend them.  I learned how to darn socks so that I didn’t have to get new ones if they got holes.  I learned how to mend shirts and replace buttons.  I learned how to fix my sandals when the straps broke.  I learned how to fix my jewelry when it broke.  My husband learned how to fix cars.  He taught me how to change a tire and how to wash and wax a car.  My husband learned how to de-fragment computer hard drives and install anti-virus software on computers.  He learned how to replace a kitchen sink disposal and replace a florescent light fixture with a broken ballast.  He learned how to unclog a drain or a toilet.

     And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations – When you become a fix-it person, you soon learn to fix up and use things that other people can’t.  These are like “old waste places”.  When people say to you, “My dinglehopper broke and I don’t know what to do with it”, you’ll say, “Give to me; I can use it,” and you’ll fix it up and make something grand out of it, and use it all the time.  Not only that, but you’ll teach your children how to fix things too, which will “raise up the foundations of many generations” of Fix-it people!

     I got to develop my fix-it skills when our next door neighbor offered me her broken dinette set.  It so happened that I had been wanting a dinette set, so I jumped at the offer.  It was a round table and with four chairs, and two of the chairs where broken.  I fixed one of the broken chairs with parts from the other broken chair, sanded everything down, and then repainted the table and chairs a brilliant green and orange.  This became our dinette set; previously all my husband and I had was a simple card table and folding chairs.  Fixing up those chairs gave me an “I can do this!” self esteem boost and painting it the way I liked ensured that it became something special.

     When you get good at preserving your teenage stewardship from waste and taking good care of it, and repairing things, you are also preparing yourself to oversee larger and larger stewardships.  When you get good at taking care of a room, you are prepared to learn how to take care of an apartment.  When you get good at caring for an apartment, you are prepared to learn how to care for a house and family.  When you get good at caring for a house and family, you are prepared to learn how to care for an estate or business.  When you learn how to care for an estate you are prepared to learn how to care for a city.  Then a county.  Then a state.  Then a nation.  Then a world.  In short, you’ll become like God in your ability to care for your stewardship.  (You’ll even learn when to do something personally and when it is appropriate to delegate the task to a servant.)

The Temptation to Think That There Is No Penalty For Neglecting or Misusing Your Stewardship and Abusing the Lord’s Trust

     Remember way back when the Lord sent Isaiah to Shebna the treasurer to have him give an account of his stewardship?  It turned out that Shebna was not a faithful steward.  Instead of being wise and generous with what had been put in his charge, Shebna had squandered it.  In Isaiah 22:16 it says that Shebna had used his master’s money to pay for a nice tomb to be made for himself.  (That’s kind of a morbid thing to do, but evidently it was the fashionable thing for rich people to have one.) 

     Here’s where Isaiah prophesied the Lord’s punishment for Shebna, the unfaithful treasurer. 

17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity,

and will surely cover thee.

18 He will surely violently turn

and toss thee like a ball into a large country:

there shalt thou die,

and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.

19 And I will drive thee from thy station,

and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

(Isaiah 22:17-19)

     Captivity, death, the loss of his station, and shame.

     [T]he chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house  - It looks like Shebna not only had made himself a tomb, but also had bought some fancy chariots with his lord’s money.  Isaiah means here that Shebna’s lord would be ashamed of him and not pleased with him for what he was doing.  If we apply this to ourselves, we can see that the Lord is ashamed and very displeased with us when we squander our stewardship to buy fancy cars.  Hits close to home, doesn’t it?

     And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down. - This line is sort of funny.  It’s like the Lord is saying, “You’re driving fancy cars?  Well, then, I’m going to have to drive you out of your job.”  It illustrates that the unfaithful steward has his stewardship taken away from him.  Likewise, in the parable of the talents, the servant who hid his talent and didn’t work to increase it provokes the anger of his master who says, “Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?  And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound. . .” (Luke 19:23-24)

     This is a very uncomfortable thing to hear that if we are unfaithful stewards it  will be taken away from us.  But it is true.  This is also what brings an aspect of the captivity Isaiah refers to, because when you are accustomed to having a lot of freedom to do things, and having the resources to do it, it is maddening to have those resources taken away from you. 

     Speaking of driving, a few days before I was to get my driver’s license, I woke up on a Sunday morning too late to ride with everyone else to church.  We lived a mile from church and I didn’t relish the idea of walking, but I had keys to the truck in the driveway, so I figured there would be nothing wrong with driving myself to church.  I had my permit.  I knew how to drive.  I had some good driving experience.  I could be self-reliant, right?

     Wrong.  My Mom was very unhappy with me for driving by myself with only a permit.  What I thought was a mere formality, she took very seriously, so seriously in fact, that she decreed she was going to take my license away from me the same day I would get it and she decreed that I wasn’t going to be doing any driving for a week afterward.  I felt like my wings had been clipped.  I could hardly wait for that week to be over.  (And I had learned not to overstep the legal bounds of my stewardship.)

     Here’s an example in which I managed to escape losing my car key stewardship by being careful.  When my brother got his license to drive I had had my license for about a year, I had my own set of keys, so I was accustomed to the freedom of not having to ask for the keys when I needed to go somewhere.  My brother also got his own set of keys to the truck, and it didn’t take long for us to start squabbling over who would drive it.  My parents told us that if our fighting continued, we would both have to give up our sets of keys.  This would have been a terrible burden!  I could not stand the thought, and evidently my brother couldn’t either, because he took me aside and said to me, “I think we can work this out so that we don’t have to give back our keys.”  I agreed.  And we did, by making sure we knew when the other needed the truck.  We also drove each other places and picked each other up.  This peacefully sharing the stewardship of the truck helped us stay out of keyless captivity… and it even helped us become better friends with each other.  (Shocking, I know.)

     [T]here shalt thou die  - This seems like a pretty extreme punishment for squandering our stewardship, but if we think about the sheepdog metaphor, we can understand it.  When a sheepdog starts eating the sheep in its care, the owner has to shoot it.  Apparently Shebna had devoured the Lord’s substance like a greedy, rabid sheepdog, so the Lord decided to shorten his life.  The Lord is very merciful, and no doubt the He had called Shebna to repentance many times before this sentence of death was pronounced. 

     A modern example of someone who squandered their stewardship, had it taken away, and was removed from the earth soon afterward was Kenneth Lay, the CEO of Enron.  He had allowed Enron to commit multibillion dollar fraud and he benefited financially from it.  He was in his sixties and should have lived much longer (at least long enough to spend a good twenty years in prison), but the Lord cut his life short.  After he died the newspapers said he had escaped justice, but anyone who knows anything about the afterlife knows Ken Lay has not escaped, but has fallen into the hands of the Lord’s justice.  What happened to him is a warning to us all.

     What happened to the stewardship of the unfaithful steward Shebna after it was taken away, and what can this teach us?

20 And it shall come to pass in that day,

that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:

21 And I will clothe him with thy robe,

and strengthen him with thy girdle,

and I will commit thy government into his hand:

     and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

     and to the house of Judah.

22        And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder;

          so he shall open, and none shall shut;

          and he shall shut, and none shall open.

23             And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place;

and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.

24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house,

the offspring

and the issue,

all vessels of small quantity,

from the vessels of cups,

even to all the vessels of flagons.

(Isaiah 22:20-24)

     The next principle of stewardship that we have illustrated here is that the stewardship of the unwise steward is given to someone who will make better use of it for the benefit of everyone around him.  These verses enumerate certain qualities of good stewardship.

     [T]hat I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah – Notice that Eliakim was called “my servant”.  The Lord considered Eliakim a good steward, because he was the Lord’s servant.  This shows us that to be good stewards at home or in school or at work or at church, we must be someone who serves the Lord before anyone else, including ourselves.  How do we know when we’re serving the Lord?  First, it’s obvious we are serving the Lord when we do church callings well.  And second, in general, “. . .when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).  And further, it is when you can say as Ammon said to King Lamoni, “whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do” (Alma 18:17). 

     I was given a job at BYU’s Electronic Engineering Department storeroom (commonly known as “the cage”) because one of the other student workers there was spending more time on his own projects than in doing his job.  (His stewardship was taken from him and given to me.)  A “cage worker” had the duties of providing parts to the students for their labs and maintaining the test equipment in the labs.  There was a pager that I wore, and when people needed me, they would page me and I would come to help them.  I enjoyed my work so much that even if they needed parts late at night when the cage was closed, if I was there (and I was, more often than not) I would get what they needed for them.  I knew that at the same time that I was serving my fellow students (assuming that what they needed was right), I was also serving the Lord. 

     [H]e shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah – This new steward, rather than acting like a spendthrift on his own behalf and a miser towards everyone else, acts like a father to the people around him, providing for their needs out of what was given to his charge.  With his authority, he can get them jobs or he can bestow a sum of money here and there to help out of tight spots.  And just like a father, he can feed and clothe the needy.

     I remember my first year at BYU when I lived in Helaman Halls and various formal dances were held from time to time.  It was really a wonderful thing to see how the girls on my floor shared with each other.  There were quite a few of us who had beautiful, modest, formal dresses we had brought with us.  The girls on my floor shared their dresses with each other so that anyone who got invited to the dance would have a dress to wear that they hadn’t been seen in before.  They also shared jewelry with each other.  At times it was as if the closet of clothes to choose from stretched from one end of the hall to the other and back again, so open were these girls to sharing.  Surely this kind of sharing is possible in high school too, even if you don’t live close together like those girls did.

     Another way we can share is by feeding the hungry. The usual way is by paying a fast offering, but in addition, you can do it with your own lunch money.  I got my first experience of providing food sort of like a father when I first went to BYU.

     In BYU housing, they have several different meal plans.  I had Dining Plus, which pays for 3 meals a day anywhere on campus and I have to say that it was a wonderful metaphor for stewardship.  With Dining Plus, each day a sum of money was on my card, and if I didn’t spend it all, it accumulated.  If it wasn’t all spent by the end of the semester, it all disappeared.  It so happened that I had a tendency to spend less than my daily allowance of Dining Plus and I accumulated a lot of extra funds. I had a roommate who was only able to afford the 2 meal plan, which only paid for 2 meals at the dorm cafeteria and nowhere else.  There were many, many times when I paid for my roommate’s third meal of the day, sharing my surplus with her. 

     You can do this too.  Notice who is unable to pay for lunch and find some way of sharing with them.  If your parents reproach you for going through your lunch money quickly, you will be able to tell them that you are putting it to the best use possible - feeding the hungry.  Are your parents going to make you go hungry when you are helping to feed other hungry people too?  No. 

     And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open – This testifies of Christ and the sealing power, but it also describes good stewardship.  Eliakim would be such a good steward that when he would be generous, no one would keep him from giving (“he shall open, and none shall shut”) and when he would keep his lord’s goods safe, no one would be able to get at them. (“he shall shut and none shall open”).

     Next we have additional blessings that come of being a good steward. 

     And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place – If we are wise stewards, making the best, most generous use of what the Lord has put into our care, the Lord provides us with a special kind of security.  No matter what happens to us, we won’t have to worry, because the Lord will help us by providing for us.  That is being fastened in a “sure place”.   More on this later.

     [H]e shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house – The “glorious throne” symbolizes righteous authority.  It means that when we become wise, generous stewards we will gain authority in our families and they will come to us for advice on what should be done with the family stewardship.  On occasion non-relatives may ask for our advice as well. 

     This line also gives us the promise of a throne of glory in our Heavenly Father’s house in the celestial kingdom.  “And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you-a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom” (Doctrine & Covenants 101:61).

     And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons – All his family, old and young, depended on Eliakim’s generosity.  They were likened to small vessels hanging around waiting for him to pour into them what they needed. 

     An application of this scripture is being generous to our younger siblings with our hand-me-downs.  They really look up to us (even if they don’t say so), and frequently they prize and enjoy something we give them even more because we gave it to them.  My little sister told me she always loved it when I gave her things as hand-me-downs.  And you may think this is strange, but my siblings also liked to look through my trash for things they could have that I was throwing away.  They depended on me for the things I discarded.

So what have we learned about Stewardship from Isaiah? 

1) We have to learn about it stewardship and consecration and start practicing it as young as possible, because that will protect us from worldly materialism and keep us free from the curses that come with the adoration of riches and worldly things.

2) We are the Lord’s stewards, so everything we have really belongs to Him.  Thus, we have no reason to get greedy.

3) The Lord will hold us accountable for how we have used our stewardship.

4) Neglecting our stewardship is a sin against the Lord.

5) We must notice and see what is wrong to avoid being blind, neglectful stewards.

6) We must learn how to take better care of our stewardship to avoid being ignorant, neglectful stewards.

7) We must warn others what is wrong with their stewardships so they can fix it to avoid being dumb (silent) stewards.

8) We must be anxiously engaged in attending to our stewardships to avoid being lazy stewards.

9) Neglect spoils a stewardship.

10) When we are good stewards, we become “Mr. Fixit” or “Miss Fixit”, and we are prepared for greater stewardships.

11) If we squander our stewardships, the Lord is ashamed of us and will take it away from us, and give it to a good steward.

12) If we are good stewards, we are the Lord’s servants.

13) If we are good stewards, we provide for the needy like a father.

14) No one stops a good steward from being generous or keeping his stewardship safe.

16) The Lord gives a good steward security.

17) When we become good stewards, others will consult us about what they should do with their stewardships.

18) The Lord will reward good stewards with an eternal inheritance and they will become rulers in His kingdom.

19) When we are good stewards, others will depend upon our generosity.

 Chapter 9 – Chastity
 Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
 Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
  Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
 Chapter 15 – The SabbathChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_12.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2shapeimage_6_link_3shapeimage_6_link_4shapeimage_6_link_5shapeimage_6_link_6shapeimage_6_link_7shapeimage_6_link_8
 Chapter 16 – Pornography 
 Chapter 17 – The Media
 Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
 Chapter 19 – Responsibility
 Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
 Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – ConsecrationChapter_16.htmlChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0shapeimage_7_link_1shapeimage_7_link_2shapeimage_7_link_3shapeimage_7_link_4shapeimage_7_link_5shapeimage_7_link_6shapeimage_7_link_7shapeimage_7_link_8
Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
 Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models 
 Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting 
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
 Chapter 6 – Bullying 
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_6.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5shapeimage_8_link_6shapeimage_8_link_7shapeimage_8_link_8shapeimage_8_link_9