Christian stewardship is one of the most important topics for believers to understand.
Mention stewardship and most people immediately think about money. Mention stewardship and a lot of people moan inwardly and mentally prepare themselves for another fund raising campaign. Some may mutter that “fortunately,
the church only talks about stewardship once a year.” Is stewardship only about money? Is a stewardship emphasis really a fund raising campaign that comes once a year? No and no.
So first, we need to deal with the misconceptions about stewardship. Perhaps the most obvious misconception that needs to be eliminated is the popular notion that stewardship merely is a religious synonym for fund raising, or
shorthand for financing the work of the church. Unfortunately, that thinking is far from the truth.
A good illustration of stewardship is the film the Lord of the Rings. The main character, Frodo, is entrusted with a task to do. In the Return of the King, Frodo is aware of the debt he owes, and gives himself fully to the task. Compare
and contrast the Steward of Gondor, who imagines himself to be the king and has set himself on the throne of Gondor, instead of guarding it for its rightful owner. In those two characters we see what stewardship is and what it is not.
A steward is a strange word these days but the concept permeates throughout our culture. We just call it different things. A steward is someone who has been given a task to do by someone else or who has been given something by
someone else to use for the purposes of the owner. A steward acts as an agent of the owner, but they are not the owner. Or as one dictionary puts it – someone who manages property or other affairs for someone else.
The key is that when something is entrusted to you, it is not yours, no matter how well you convince yourself otherwise. The person who entrusted it to you has the right to determine what you do with it, while it is on loan to you. You
may well find yourself using whatever it is that has been entrusted to you for purposes that are at complete odds with what you would use it for.
So what is Christian stewardship? Stewardship is everything we do after we say we believe in Jesus Christ.
Christian Stewardship is not a program. It is a challenge and a privilege that effects the whole of our lives as Christians. This means that we are stewards of everything God has given us: our time, our abilities, our possessions, and our
money. Real Christian stewardship describes not our relation to what we possess, but our relation to God who possesses us.
In the next few blog posts I will attempt to increase our understanding of what Christian stewardship is and what it is not.
Next Part 2 -Stewards of More Than Money.