Owners and Stewards

Stewardship at most churches is an awkward topic because most of us look at it as a means to give up “our” money.  We all have worked hard for our money and naturally want to protect it, which is in fact good stewardship.  According to a recent article in Church Leaders, Christians are now giving at 2.5% of their income but gave 3.3% during the Great Depression.   Both of these numbers are sad and do not reflect the Biblical instruction from Malachi 3:10 “bring the full tithe into the storehouse.”  However, isn’t it human nature during times of great stress to either grow closer to God or further away?  Clearly, God wants us to grow closer but not all of us do.  God has already given us victory in times of adversity.  His promise to Moses was passed on to Joshua.  Similarly, His promises as detailed in scripture are still as relevant today as they were in the beginning of time.  “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).

So, what does this have to do with stewardship?  First, we must understand what is a steward and what is an owner.   Owners have rights, but stewards have responsibility.  We are stewards with all of our belongings, even our money and children.  James 1:17 beautifully expounds upon this idea.  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).  So, it is clear we are stewards for God, and all that we have and see belongs to Him.  “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s… And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. (Leviticus 27: 30, 32)

A steward lives for the day he will return the Master’s goods to Him.  A good example is The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25.  The third servant was given one talent (bag of gold) and the other two were given more.  The other two wisely invested their master’s money and returned the original money to the master along with the interest which greatly pleased the master.  The third servant greatly displeased the master because he had hidden the money in a hole and only had the original amount to return to the master.

Is there a lesson for us from the third servant? Perhaps we should see that our view of God will determine the choices we make. Do we see Christ as “a hard man” with unfair expectations of us? (Matthew 25: 24) If so, it will lead us to live in fear.  It is important to note that the money that was given to the servants was not their own.  Also, the interest they earned with the capital was not theirs to keep. The servants were only stewards of the master’s investment, and it is the quality of their stewardship that the master sought to measure.

Isn’t it interesting that the ancient word for the weight of gold was “talent.”  Today, we consider a talent to be our skills and abilities.  We all have unique talents.   We should maximize the use of our talents (money, skills, time, witness, etc.) not for our own selfish purposes, but to honor God. The Parable of the Talents is not about salvation or works righteousness, but about how we use our work to fulfill our earthly callings.   The unfaithful steward in this parable didn’t waste the master’s money but rather he wasted an opportunity. As a result, he was judged wicked and lazy. We are responsible for what we do for God with what we have been given, and one day we will all be looking for the narrow gate and pass on the right side with the sheep.

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

The Power of the Mind

 

 

 

 

 

I think we are all pretty much aware of the importance of good mental health and the power of positive thinking.  However, the importance of our thoughts also has a profound effect on our spiritual health.    This point is made clear in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  God is clearly encouraging us to focus our thoughts on things that are good and decent.  This is important because the mind is a battlefield of positive and negative thoughts.  God is introducing positive thoughts and the enemy is sneaking in lies and negative thoughts.  Both God and satan know the power of our thoughts and hence the battle for control.  Also, both know the Holy Scriptures, although satan will misinterpret and misapply scripture as he did to Jesus after He fasted for forty days in the desert.

The importance of our thoughts is evident in Luke 6:45.  “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  This point is further amplified in Proverbs 18:21.  “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  In summary, what goes into the brain is what comes out of the mouth.  Have you ever noticed that over time you begin to take on the accent and other mannerisms of your close friends?  For example, if you visit Boston for an extended period you will likely return with a different accent, particularly if you are actively engaged with the local population.  Feed yourself “spiritual milk” and walk with confidence as the children of God.  Speak words of life to all that you meet, especially those that belong to the body of Christ.

Action step:  Take each thought captive and examine its origin.  Godly thoughts will inspire, encourage, and strengthen you.  Godly thoughts will give you confidence and an inner peace that transcends all understanding.  Thoughts from the enemy will cause discouragement, self-doubt, resentment, worry, and embarrassment over past decisions.  These thoughts are meant to divide and destroy.

Next steps:  Who do you surround yourself with?  What do you read, watch on television and the internet, and listen to on the radio?  What books, newspapers, and magazines are you reading?

Give praise for Godly thoughts and rebuke in the name of Jesus those from the enemy.  Be in the Word and the Word will be in you and you will have the only offensive weapon in the armor of God.  Be actively involved in authentic, confidential, Christian small groups.  Pray for God’s protection of your heart, mind, and soul from the enemy.  Moreover, do the same for those you love and those that seek to harm you.

Todd Shupe Explains Termite Attack On Pressure-Treated Wood In Louisiana

todd shupeThe introduction and spread of Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) (FST) in the southern United States have increased the need for preservative treatments to protect wood products from termite attack (Todd Shupe and Dunn 2000). Of particular concern is the protection of framing lumber used in residential and commercial structures. Because of their large colony sizes and aggressive foraging patterns, FST are considered to be a greater threat to wooden structures than the native (Reticulitermes spp.) termites (Todd Shupe and Dunn 2000). The FST are also thought to be somewhat more resistant to some types of wood preservatives, although this has been difficult to quantify. The preservative most commonly used for treatment of framing lumber is disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT). Numerous researchers have evaluated the efficacy of DOT in protecting wood from termite attack (Drysdale 1994; Grace and Yamamoto 1994a; Grace et al. 1992; Preston et al. 1996; Preston et al. 1986). On the basis of these studies, borates have been standardized for interior treatments at retentions of 2.8 kg/m3 for areas with native subterranean termites and 4.5 kg/m3 (as B2O3) for areas with FST (AWPA 2003). Less information is available on the concentrations of other types of borate systems, such as those based on borax, needed to prevent attack by FST. On a weight basis, borax converts to the equivalent of 37{74d48767320f612e9a48e40f92276bcc7ba39e99a2bf04dc4bf6d9bfeb59b620} B2O3, whereas DOT converts to the equivalent of 67{74d48767320f612e9a48e40f92276bcc7ba39e99a2bf04dc4bf6d9bfeb59b620} B2O3. However, whether B2O3 equivalents are an appropriate measure of the termiticidal properties of a borate compound is unclear. The solution chemistry of borates is complex (Eisler 1990) and multiple boron species likely exist within the treated wood.

 

Previous researchers have also reported that wood treated to relatively high DOT retentions may sustain some attack or “browsing” by FST (Grace et al. 1992; Grace et al. 2001; Grace and Yamamoto 1994a; Preston et al. 1996). Some feeding may occur because borates are not termite repellants, and the toxic effects are not immediate (Grace et al. 1992). However, Grace and Yamamoto (1994b) have also attributed this attack to localized variations in DOT retention within the wood substrate. This latter finding raises the concern that framing lumber not completely penetrated with preservative may be vulnerable to FST attack. Whereas much of the framing lumber used in the southern United States is southern pine, a species group with easily treated sapwood, a substantial portion of the framing market is supplied from the Spruce–Pine–Fir (SPF) species group. (When considered in its broadest terms, the SPF species group includes subalpine fir, balsam fir, jack pine, lodgepole pine, red pine, black spruce, Engelmann spruce, red spruce, Sitka spruce, and white spruce.) The SPF species are generally considered to be difficult to treat (refractory) or variable in their treatability (Gjovik and Schumann 1992; Richards and Inwards 1989; Smith 1986). Recent studies have found that DOT penetration in these species is greater than that experienced with CCA (Baker et al. 2001; Lebow et al. 2005), and that treatability with a borax-based preservative is intermediate between CCA and DOT (Lebow et al. 2005). Current treatment standards, however, require preservative penetration of only 10 mm in SPF species (AWPA 2003), and researchers are concerned that construction activities will create breaks in the treated shell and expose the untreated core to termite attack. Experience has shown that shell treatments are effective in preventing rapid fungal degradation of treated wood exposed above ground (Choi et al. 2004; Morris et al. 2004; Smith et al. 1998); however, less evidence exists of the efficacy of such treatments in preventing termite damage. Morris et al. (2003) and Grace et al. (2001) evaluated the performance of DOT and CCA shell treatments of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla Raf. Sarg.) and Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis Dougl. ex Forbes) against Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) and C. formosanus termites and found that protection was generally good. Peters and Creffield (2003, 2004) also concluded that shell treatments of deltamethrin and permethrin were effective in preventing attack by the Australian termites Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) and Schedorhinotermes seclusus (Hill). In contrast, a subsequent study reported that Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt) readily attacks the exposed end-grain of wood protected only by a shell treatment of permethrin (Lenz et al. 2004).

 

This study evaluated the relative ability of three types of wood preservatives to inhibit attack by Formosan subterranean termites (FST) (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) and native subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.). The study also evaluated the roles of preservative retention and penetration in preventing termite damage. Sections of boards from six wood species within the Spruce–Pine–Fir species group were pressure-treated with one of four concentrations of a borax–copper (BC) preservative composed of 93{74d48767320f612e9a48e40f92276bcc7ba39e99a2bf04dc4bf6d9bfeb59b620} borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) and 7{74d48767320f612e9a48e40f92276bcc7ba39e99a2bf04dc4bf6d9bfeb59b620} technical copper hydroxide or one concentration of disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) or chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Specimens were cut after treatment, exposing untreated end-grain in specimens not completely penetrated by preservative. The specimens were exposed above-ground, protected from the weather, at a site with populations of both native and FST near Lake Charles, Louisiana. Specimens were rated for extent of termite attack after 6, 12, and 24 months of exposure. Attack by FST was more severe than that by native termites for all preservative treatments, although this difference was less obvious at higher preservative retentions. For all treatments, termites preferred to attack the center of the end-grain of the specimens where preservative was either absent or at a lower concentration. However, CCA, which had the lowest overall penetration, was more effective than either borate preservative in preventing attack, whereas some DOT- and BC-treated specimens suffered attack even with what appeared to be complete boron penetration. These results indicate that the efficacy of shell treatments in preventing termite attack is a function of the type of preservative. The BC wood preservative protected wood from both native and Formosan termite attack at B2O3 concentrations equivalent to or lower than that of DOT treatments.

 

Condensed from: Lebow, S., Todd Shupe, B. Woodward, D. Crawford, B. Via, and C. Hatfield. 2006. Wood Fiber Sci. 38(4):609-620.