A steward is one entrusted with managing the property of another. Jesus outlined some of the responsibilities of a steward in the parable of the talents. A steward must maintain and protect, nurture and develop the ‘talents’ or property of his Master.
The whole of Creation, including our own bodies, our daily lives, our homes, and our families, was made by God. He owns it all. In Genesis, when And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth. (Gen. 1:28)
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1)
He was naming us as stewards, giving us the honor of being responsible for His Works. Everything we do acts out that stewardship, and needs to be done as well, as carefully, and as gladly as if God was going to inspect our work when we’re finished each task. What a monumental (and occasionally daunting) thought!
The local church is the hope of the world!” I believe this with all my heart,
especially in these challenging days when pressing social issues and tragic world events have made life difficult and precarious for so many.
But if the local church is to live out its redemptive potential, it must provide not
only hope but practical help and biblical teaching that meet people at their points of need. One of the most critical needs today is helping people come to grips with their finances. For many, a majority of their waking hours are spent making money, worrying about money, fighting over money or. trying to protect their money The church risks marginalizing itself when it fails to address a topic of such magnitude.
In addition, if the church ignores the abundance of scriptural teaching about our relationship to money, it fails to prepare its people in a major discipleship area of life. I believe there is no such thing as being right with God and wrong with your money. Unfortunately, as church leaders we often feel uncomfortable teaching on money.
Let’s take a look at how we can move toward addressing this overarching topic
with integrity and power..
As we begin, let’s remind ourselves that in and of itself, money is neutral. It’s
simply a medium of exchange. It can be used for great good or for great evil.
However, to stop there would be incomplete.
But the fact that so much of Jesus’ teaching was about our relationship to money and possessions suggest there is something unique about it. Why did he single out money as the one thing we could not serve and still serve God? Why did he indicate that the deceitfulness of riches chokes out God’s Word in our lives and makes it unfruitful? Some authors suggest that it was because money has a spiritual force or power that attempts to draw our allegiance to itself and away from God. Jesus seemed to understand that more than any other thing; money had the power to reveal the true condition of a person’s heart.
As leaders who wish to effectively teach from a biblical perspective, there are
some things that would be helpful to understand about money and our
relationship to it.
• Understand that money is a powerful thing. It can become the idol that
makes it harder to enter the Kingdom than for a camel to fit through the
eye of a needle … or that can cause us to build bigger barns to store our
surplus only to be labeled by God as “fools.”
• Understand that our culture assigns money god-like powers. The
culture says, “Money is all powerful, it makes things happen” (Perhaps
true in some circles of influence but not in the truly important arenas of
life.) The culture says, “Money provides ultimate security” (On paper my
future may seem monetarily secure but earthly treasures are subject to
rust, moths and thieves — not to mention economic downturns!)
• Understand that the best way to break money’s hold is to be
generous with it. The act of giving money away in God honoring ways
dramatically breaks the hold it can otherwise have on us — while blessing
the receiver and providing the giver a joy found in no other way.
• Understand that money and possessions are simply entrustments.
God is the owner, we are trustees. Trustees have the responsibility to use
the resources entrusted to them in ways that the owner has designated,
not in ways that satisfy the trustee’s whims.
• Understand that sacrifice is often blessing in disguise. He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Think of your own example of giving up something that seemed like a sacrifice at the time only to have it become, often unexpectedly, a blessing in disguise. These understandings will allow us as leaders to relate to money to money and possessions in a God-honoring way while giving us freedom and joy in an area of life so often fraught with anxiety and bondage. From that place we can then lead our churches to tackle this challenge through ongoing stewardship ministry.
Four key principles to keep in mind when implementing stewardship
1. The objective of the ministry is life transformation, not increased giving.
Effective stewardship ministry is about heart change. I like to use the term,
transformational stewardship in describing this principle. Although it’s true that an effective stewardship ministry will increase giving, increased giving is not the primary intent. The primary purpose of the ministry is to help the congregation live a God-honoring financial lifestyle and grow spiritually.
2. Senior leadership, staff and laity, must be on board and supportive of the
ministry, helping to cast the vision. They must also be committed to living out
biblical financial principles in their own lives.
3. The ministry is for everyone, not just those in financial difficulty. This
needs to be communicated from day one. All of us are under the influence of
incredibly persuasive messages in our culture that are diametrically opposed to
biblical principles. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much
will be demanded”(Luke 12:48, NIV). Most Christians in North America have
much, but few understand what is demanded of them from a biblical perspective.
4. Stewardship ministry must include three elements: teaching the “what
and why”, training in the “how to”, and providing support and
encouragement. Teaching takes place in the pulpit and in workshops and
seminars. The workshops and seminars also provide the training necessary for
the individual to take the teaching and apply it to their daily lives. Support and
encouragement can come in a number of ways. Perhaps the most effective way
is through trained volunteer counselors who provide ongoing assistance to
individuals and families, making the transition from worldly to biblical ways of
managing their resources.
If today’s church leadership will take up the challenge, I’m convinced the vision of the stewardship movement, of which I’m a part, “that every church and every believer would experience the spiritual, emotional and relational joy and freedom that results from practicing biblically based financial stewardship” can become a reality.
At one time ,until 1971, the dollar we used in everyday business and trade had GOLD behind it.( REAL MONEY HAS BEEN GOLD AND SILVER FOR 5000 YEARS.) The money we use now has nothing but empty promises, backed up by nothing but government printing presses, that prints more each day, making every dollar in circulation worth a little less. It is an illusion of money created out of thin air to deceive and rob the people of their hard earned wealth. Debt, credit and inflation are all the same, created by bankers with printed money unchecked by having gold and silver behind it.
AII FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES are borrowed money with interest due on them, exchangeable for nothing (but more fiat currency) and irredeemable for nothing.
Real money is redeemable in GOLD AND SILVER. Go to: http://whatablessing.net for more information.