It is unavoidable and unscriptural to talk about stewardship without talking about the money God has entrusted to us.
“I knew it. Ok, Marty how do Christian stewards use their material blessings?”
I will answer that. But, before I do, I am reminded of one of Jack Benny’s memorable comedy routines. For those of you who are not retired Jack Benny was one of the leading American entertainers and was tremendously popular from the 1930s to the 1960s. He told a story about a thief who accosted him, demanding “your money or your life.” After a long pause, and at the insistence of the hold up man, Benny finally responded, “I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”
While attempting to be funny, this is not all that far-fetched. We have a hard time parting with our money, especially in these tough economic times.
That reluctance to part with our money is due to our misguided notion that we own it, and that by keeping the money we will have security and comfort for our entire lives. We have discovered in 2008 that money can disappear as fast as it sometimes appears. The money that we have and all the things that we own are God’s possessions. Everything in this life that we have is given to us by our heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul puts matters quite clearly when he writes, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” – 1 Tim. 6:7. Let’s look at that verse in a little more detail.
We come into the world with nothing. Even Bill gates came into the world with nothing. But, since then he has managed to accumulate a vast fortune. Some of us have done well, some not so well. But the fact is, we started with nothing.
We leave with nothing. Bill gates can’t take his money with him and neither can you or I. So, we will leave this earth the same way we entered it.
We have responsibility for the stewardship of all that we are given in between. It makes sense that if we don’t start or end with money, then the time between those two events is when God provides us with resources. Given that scenario, the following are the possibilities and the consequences.
If I give nothing, I cast a vote to close my local church and limiting missionary activity. Conversely if I give according to Biblical standards, I make it possible for my church to plan in advance.
So, here is the bottom line on stewardship and money.
God puts money in the pockets of Christians to accomplish His ends. Theoretically it would seem improbable to have a church filled with people of great faith that has financial problems. Giving is both a thermometer of our faith and our love. When giving to God, we are just relinquishing control of what belongs to Him.
Stewardship isn’t mainly about meeting budgets. It’s more about opening our lives to God’s Spirit. That’s why stewardship and growth go together. Today many people are still confused about many aspects of Christianity. Therefore, the simple Christian stewardship principles of giving of our time, talents and money to God to be used in the name of Jesus Christ makes the complicated more simple.
When our hearts are tuned toward the blessings that God has bestowed upon us, we cannot pass on the chance to share those blessings with others. In our day and time, our giving is at least about our money, the most tangible resource we have.