“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. (Luke 12:35-36)
It is easy to get confused about the nature of Christian stewardship. Our tendency is to focus on fund raising instead of the Bible’s understanding of stewardship in response to our faith in God. The Bible’s view of “Stewardship” actually has very little to do with giving money to the church!
The Bible’s view of stewardship stems from the meaning of the word itself. Stewardship means manager. It is means how a person makes sure that a business runs properly. When we say in the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in God the Father, creator of heaven and earth,” we are saying that God created everything and therefore owns everything. When we are born into life God assigns a portion of his creation to us to provide us with what we need for our lives. It still belongs to him, but he gives us the job of managing part of creation for him. He does this so that we can have the resources we need to live our lives. The process of managing God’s gifts for our lives is what the Bible thinks of as “Stewardship.”
Stewardship therefore encompasses every decision and action we take in the business of managing our lives. That is managing on God’s behalf the lives that He has given us. This is one reason that the Bible is so important. It is the key resource for understanding how God wants us to manage his business. So almost everything in the Bible is about Christian Stewardship, meaning the business of how we manage our lives on God’s behalf. Yes, it does include what we do with our resources to further the mission and ministry of Christ’s Church. But that is only a tiny part of the whole job. It also means how we care for the relationships of people we love and serve. It means how we take care of ourselves and our families physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Christian stewardship means how we organize the business of our lives around God’s central concerns for his world. How we participate in the society and government in which God has placed us. How we serve our neighbors.
This is the reason that at Heritage we are so concerned about learning how to go, make, baptize, and teach. Making disciples is the business in which our lord Jesus wants us to partner with him. That is the business that Christians need to be in with their lives and their resources. When we tend to this commission from Christ with the stewardship of our lives then we are “Keeping our lamps burning.” God has given us life for a reason. His plan clearly intends us to be the light of the world. We are God’s way of reaching out to those around us with the Word of God. A Word of Love and Redemption. A Word that preserves into eternal life. That’s a business that needs top-notch management. That is the business of Christian Stewardship.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21)