Stewardship - a fancy church word - or is there more?
As I’ve taken on my new role as Director of Stewardship Development, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of stewardship. It’s a word we use
a lot around church - often used synonymously with giving or tithing. But is that all there is to stewardship - a fancy “church word” for giving, or is there more?
Webster defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” From a Biblical standpoint, stewardship has been defined as “the responsible and active management of God’s creation for God’s purposes.” Another definition is similar - ”the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God given goals.”
You might be saying - these sound good - but what does Scripture tell us?
Psalm 24 tells us - “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” (NRSV).
That’s pretty clear - God is the owner of all that exists. No argument there.
Then in Colossians 1 we are told that all things have been created by God and for God.
In I Corinthians 6 we are reminded that we are not our own but were bought with a price - therefore we are to glorify God in all that we do.
And Proverbs 3: 9 tells us to honor the Lord with all our possessions, and with the first fruits of all our increase.
Essentially, all that we have is not given to us, but entrusted to us for God’s purposes.
Now look at Psalm 8: 4 - 6: “What is man that You (God) take thought of him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the angels...and You have made him to rule over the work of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet.”
Wow! God has given us an awesome and exciting responsibility!
And from this we see that stewardship is far more than just tithing or giving to the Lord’s
work - although that is part of it. It includes using all that the Lord has entrusted to us
for His honor and His purposes. That includes my wealth - my money - my time - my
talents - my opportunities - my home - my possessions - my family - my health - all that God has entrusted to me.
Again, an awesome responsibility - and opportunity! But where do we start? Let’s go back to Proverbs 3: 9. It mentions first fruits. What are first fruits and why are they specifically mentioned? It’s simple but important.
First fruits refers to the first portion of our income. We are to give that first portion symbolizing the place God is to have in our heart. He wants to have first place.
As God tells us in Exodus 20, He is a jealous God - He doesn’t want anything to come before Him in our lives - not our money, not our wealth, nothing! He wants to be first. And this goes along with the understanding that Christ is to be our Lord - not just our savior. Christ is to have control over every area of our lives - including all that He has entrusted to us.
Have I allowed Christ to have first place in all areas of my life - to be Lord, to allow
Him to have control of all that He has entrusted to me as His steward?
More to come...
Do you have questions about managing your finances from a Biblical perspective?
For help and guidance feel free to call Kent Anderson at (239)597-6057 x254.