Misuse of resources produces mismanagement. In the Garden of Eden we see that Adam and Eve abused the fruit on God's one forbidden tree. They did with it what it was not made to do—they ate it. So, they mismanaged it.
Whenever you misuse resources, you have become a mismanager. If you dump junk food and harmful substances into your body, which was entrusted to you by God as His holy temple, that's mismanagement. And when you mismanage what God gave you, you will lose it. Eventually, your health will begin to fade, and on the day you planned to celebrate your wedding anniversary, your spouse may be attending a funeral instead—yours. Why? Misuse leads to mismanagement.
Misappropriation of resources brings disqualification and guilt. Have you ever prayed for a need—perhaps for some money—and you received it. Then, when the money came, the thing you needed it for lost its importance and you found yourself using the money for something you wanted that now seemed more important?
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command and misappropriated His property and resources, they were disqualified. They were kicked out of their own Daddy's "company"! And if Daddy puts you out, you're in real trouble. Leaders who are disciplined in this area attract God to them. He increases their resources everywhere they go. Why? He lets them have things because they don't misappropriate them. He trusts them.
The responsibility of management cannot be transferred. Because you are breathing, it is you who are responsible for the management of your life. You cannot abdicate your responsibility and hold someone else accountable for your daily affairs. Whenever anyone tries to shift his or her life over to another's care, God literally takes what he had from him.
Adam tried to transfer his management responsibility to Eve—and they both suffered for it. You can't transfer responsibility for management to other people, even if your circumstance is unfortunate. You alone are responsible for what you are supposed to manage. God will give you the opportunity, but you must receive. You were created to manage effectively your intellect, body, mind, creativity, time and relationships.
Whatever you mismanage, you will lose. This mismanagement principle is embodied in the saddest words in Scripture: "Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden" (Gen. 3:23). God doesn't waste His property. He also values it so highly that He will use angelic intervention to protect it from abuse. Angels holding flaming swords could very possibly be guarding the way back into squandered ministries and businesses at this very moment because of the foolishness shown by those who mismanaged them.
God intelligently uses His resources to their fullest and expects the same from man. What did Jesus instruct His disciples to do after He fed the five thousand? Jesus said, "Pick up every crumb. Nothing is to go to waste" (see John 6:12). Why? Because God doesn't sponsor mismanagement. Jesus possessed a management mentality. He detested waste. If you want to attract much, manage the little.
Mismanagement may be "personal," but it is never "private." When you mismanage, you are not the only one affected. Adam mismanaged just one man—himself. He did it personally, but it certainly wasn't a private issue, because his sin has affected every man and woman on earth.
There is a very revealing law in economics: You can tell mismanagement is taking place in a nation when the nation's people have to pay more taxes. When there is corruption in high places, or when there's mismanagement anywhere in government, it is the people who have to pay for it. This demonstrates clearly that people pay publicly for personal and private mismanagement.
Think about the resources God has given you. Are they still in your possession, but out of their proper place? Turn the lights on in your marriage, children, ministry, house and car, and start to think organizationally. Make this confession right now: "Heavenly Father, I am sobered by this reality, so please, help me to grow in my management calling. I promise to manage better from this day forward."