In our society we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us to indulge ourselves and look out for no. 1. We all want our children to have it better than we did. We may unintentionally nurture self-centeredness in our children by giving them everything they want and not teaching them the importance and value of serving others. Life can easily become all about “me” when the reality is “it is better to give than to receive.” In fact the Bible gives us this warning about being greedy and treating God’s gifts to us as though they were our permanent possessions instead of on temporary loan while we are here on earth. “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13
This brings us to the subject of Christian stewardship. To many people Stewardship is simply about how much money we give to God through our offerings. While our offerings are a part of the whole stewardship equation, Stewardship is much more than this. Here is a definition of Stewardship: “The joy-filled response of the child of God in response to God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ. It is recognizing that all resources of life are a gift of God (Psalm 24:1), including time, talent, treasures (money and other wealth), and that a Christian responds cheerfully to God as a grateful response to God’s costly love in Jesus Christ.” A Christian steward is a disciple (follower) of the Lord Jesus Christ who earnestly seeks to live a God-pleasing life as a person of faith who has been given a new heart and a renewed mind in Christ. Management, guardianship, or care-taking of God’s creation are all part of our “stewardship” vocabulary. It is best not to spell stewardship, as some narrowly view it, in this manner: Stewardship. A biblical theology of the Cross sees Christ at the center of Christian faith and living. Stewardship is a life of sanctification (a holy, faith-filled, and godly life, the work of the Holy Spirit). While fund-raising is good and important, stewardship and stewardship education are different. Too often we confuse bake sales, car washes, and other fund-raising activities as stewardship. Such activities as well as giving an offering on Sunday morning are not a substitute for living the sanctified life of a Christian steward. How we manage our life, how we use our gifts, and how we spend our time is an important part of Stewardship. We often get upset when we hear of able bodied people who could work but refuse because they would rather sit and do nothing and receive welfare instead. Indeed this is poor stewardship of one’s time and abilities. But are we as hard on ourselves when we waste or neglect the gifts that God has given to us, when we sit on the sidelines instead of volunteering to help carry out God’s mission in this world?
As new creations in Christ, it is no longer an option to live for ourselves. Having been forgiven and redeemed by our gracious God, we now live to do His will and fulfill His purposes for our lives. Because of what God has given to us and won for us through Christ, we live with new perspectives and priorities. Through faith, we realize that all we are and have are by God’s grace. Acknowledging our identity and purposes as stewards of God’s creation, we strive to please Him through our faithful stewardship.
In His service,