Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was participating in an on-line discussion of stewardship  when I realized that the thread sounded like a "giving of money" thread.  Stewardship is a whole lot larger a topic than just that one aspect.  Stewardship is the use and management of all the blessings with which God has blessed one.  How one deals with life and all it contains -Stewardship - will be determined by either the Law or the Gospel, even among those who do not share the Christian faith -- only theirs is always Law (self-imposed).  In most Christians, it is a little of both. 

God gives us all He gives us for His purposes, not merely for our own.  How one deals with life, time, talents, treasures, and so on is determined by whether or not one believes that assertion, and, if so, what one believes God's purposes are - and particularly His purposes in them and for them as He blesses them.

The difficult thing to keep in one's head is that God knows.  He knows - always and everywhere - where you are and what you have and what you are facing and what you need, and so much more.  When one believes the Gospel, they can act as though God knows - looking to see what God has set before them to do and what He has given them for the accomplishing of that task - or those tasks.  Unbelief leaves one only with the use of stuff for one's own purposes and advantage, which almost never works out quite the way one imagines at the start.

God gives us abilities.  Then He gives us a place in the world and circumstances in which to live.  He sets work before us, and pleasures, and duties and opportunities, and the steward then must determine what there is to do, and what they are capable of doing, and what resources they have to do those things.  They must decide - or remember - who it is they serve.  We then go about life - giving ourselves to God (or not) by how we deal with our neighbor and how we manage the things God has given into our stewardship.  Good stewardship is not necessarily giving a lot of time, or money, or both to the church.  That might be part of it, but some who may do those things might be terrible stewards - if they do it reluctantly and because they feel coerced, for example.  Some might give boldly to make themselves look good.  Their foolishness may be useful to a church budget, but it is not good stewardship.  Some people deny their families time or money for the sake of the congregation, proving themselves to be poor stewards, while others deny the church their participation or gifts, using their families (for example) as their excuse, also proving to be poor stewards.

Stewardship is to be measured by the Master, not by one's fellow stewards.  Do you live out what you believe in a consistent manner?  If so, you are probably a faithful steward.

When it comes to the plea for giving money, I always tell my congregation "The Lord loves a cheerful giver."  If you want to do it, then do it.  If you don't, then don't.  That same principle applies to any service in the Church.  If there are not enough faithful stewards around to support a congregation, the congregation will not last.  If there are enough who hunger for the Word, they will find a way to support the congregation's needs in terms of time, talents and treasure.  The focus needs to be on the Word, and not on perceived needs.  God can stretch a little a long way, and He can burn through a fortune in no time flat. 

Prov. 3:5-6 seems fitting: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

No comments: