Stewardship. It’s not just about money, or time, or talent. It’s about surrender. Surrendering ourselves to Christ. Returning our money, our time, and our talent to its rightful owner – God. The truth is, it’s tough! BUT, when we come to believe and understand that all we have – our possessions, money, time, talents – are on loan from God, are gifts from God, we are then ready to use them for His purposes and His glory.
When we understand God as Creator, God as Sovereign, God as Generous Provider; and understand that He empowers us personally to be be a faithful steward, then that truth will impact every aspect of our lives. It will impact our work, our leisure time, how and where we use our talents, our family, our friends,our possessions and our generosity.
In turn, as faithful stewards withing a church community, we grow to more fully understand that we are managing people’s offerings on behalf of God for the vision and mission God has called our church to. The principles are the same for both personal and corporate stewardship:
1. God is the Owner.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
In the beginning of Genesis, God creates everything and puts Adam and Eve in the Garden to work it and to take care of it. It is clear that we were created to work and that work is the stewardship of all of the creation that God has given us.
This is the fundamental truth of biblical stewardship. God owns everything. We are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf. This includes His church. As His stewards, we are responsible to manage his holdings well and do something good with it according to his desires and purposes.
2. We are to be Accountable.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that which he has done, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10; also see 2 Corinthians 8:12; 1 Corinthians 4:2; Luke 12:48).
We are all stewards of the resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care, and one day each one of us will be called to give an account for how we have managed what the God has entrusted to us. What we do today matters, and makes a difference – both now and in eternity.
Church Stewardship requires theological, moral, ethical and legal accountability:
- to God (who the church ‘belongs’ to)
- to the people of the church who generously gives to support it
- to the denomination of whom the church is part of
- to the government (the authority God places over us)
All of these people/institutions require accountability and compliance.
And like the servants in the Parable of the Talents, we will be called to give an account of how we have administered everything we have been given, including our time, money, abilities, information, wisdom, relationships, and authority.
3. We are to Serve with Joy and Humility
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-34
As Christians, we are called to serve rather than to be served. Biblical stewardship is more about developing a healthy concern for with the well-being of the other, as well as my own well-being (‘love your neighbour as your self’). As stewards of God we look to use all the opportunities and resources entrusted to us to love God and our neighbour with all of life, all we have, and all we are.
4. We are to be Generous
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47
Generous stewardship is how your church ministry is funded. It is important to lead the way and disciple people in generous stewardship. You cannot ask people to be generous when the church board/leaders are not generous – both as leaders individually and as a church with:
- the poor and those in need in your community
- your CORE and Giving Streams covenant
- the community God has called your church to accept responsibility for.
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from
moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your
whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in
a sense His own already.”
~C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity~