What is Stewardship?

Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you wwwoted 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

“What does stewardship look like in our lives today?”

It is where the concepts of faith, work and economics intersect.

There are four principles of Stewardship:
1. The principle of ownership. The psalmist begins the 24th psalm with, The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. In the beginning of Genesis, God creates everything and puts Adam in the Garden to work it and to take care of it. It is clear that man was created to work and that work is the stewardship of all of the creation that God has given him. This is the fundamental principle of biblical stewardship. God owns everything, we are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf. Therefore, stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves. Echoing Deuteronomy 8:17, we might say: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But Deuteronomy 8:18 counsels us to think otherwise: Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.

2. The principle of responsibility. Although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities. (Peel) We are called as God’s stewards to manage that which belongs to God. While God has graciously entrusted us with the care, wwwelopment, and enjoyment of everything he owns as his stewards, we are responsible to manage his holdings well and according to his desires and purposes.

3. The principle of accountability. A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. 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 Master has given us. This is the maxim taught by the Parable of the Talents. God has entrusted authority over the creation to us and we are not allowed to rule over it as we see fit. We are called to exercise our dominion under the watchful eye of the Creator managing his creation in accord with the principles he has established. 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. We will all give account to the rightful owner as to how well we managed the things he has entrusted to us.

4. The principle of reward. In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes: 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. The Bible shows us in the parables of the Kingdom that faithful stewards who do the master’s will with the master’s resources can expect to be rewarded incompletely in this life, but fully in the next. We all should long to hear the master say what he exclaims in Matthew 25:21: Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! As Christians today, we need to embrace this larger biblical view of stewardship, which goes beyond church budgets or building projects, though important; it connects everything we do with what God is doing in the world. We need to be faithful stewards of all God has given us within the opportunities presented through his providence to glorify him, serve the common good and further his Kingdom.

We want to raise awareness on Stewardship so for the next twelve weeks we will present a stewardship snip-it at the beginning of each service. Each week the message will be in your bulletin and will be displayed in the Narthex. If you have any questions on Stewardship or want to discuss Stewardship with someone, please contact Scott Miller or Pastor John.

Why Estimate Giving?

Estimates of Giving are important in the life of our church today.

The rapid changes taking place in the world and the needs of the world make it very important that we wwwelop a plan for proportionate giving to and through our church…

because we desire to make plans at least once a year to grow in our giving and manage to the best of our ability the dollar resources with which God has blessed us!

because God gives us the grace to give, and that Grace moves us to make a firm commitment to the church; contributing a portion of our talents and financial blessings for our Lord’s mission and ministry.

because in estimating our giving we make an effort to show just how much God is the God of our lives, and in growing in our commitment each year we give external evidence of our internal priorities. We put God first. We risk in faith. We trust in God to provide.

because God has asked for our commitment – not just that we give – but that we be committed to our Lord. As Christians, our estimate of giving is foundational to all ministry and helps our church plan for and provide such emphases for ministry.

because God is important in our lives and our personal support of our Lord’s ministry is a way to make a difference in the world.

because Christians lead by example. Jesus set the example for us to follow in stewardship. If Christ was not afraid to be nailed to the cross for us, certainly we should not be afraid to affix our names to an estimate of giving for his work. It is an outward expression of our love for and trust in Him.

because our estimate is free and open. It is neither legal nor legally binding. Our congregation believes that it expresses our hopes and cares for the ministry that proclaims Christ’s love for the world.

because it enables us to be truly intentional about our own personal stewardship. We can prayerfully consider what God is calling us to give to the ministry of Christ’s Church and make a conscientious decision about our response.

because the programs for ministry that our congregation and our church at large provide for us and our families are important in our lives, and anything so important takes planning and commitment.

because we do not believe that our church’s leadership can make meaningful decisions concerning ministry without first knowing what can be expected in support of those ministries.

and, because growing in our giving enables us to experience even more spiritual growth and joy in giving.