Stewardship is one of the most misunderstood practices in Christian life. The word stewardship is only second to evangelism when it comes to the amount of baggage attached to it. Chris Goulard, Pastor of Stewardship at Saddleback Church in California, points out this reality about the term stewardship as follows:
“Over the years, many well-meaning churches have misused the term stewardship. “Many have mischaracterized it and used it interchangeably with giving or—even worse—the annual stewardship message from the pastor who’s just talked about tithing,”
Stewardship, and in particular financial stewardship, is not just about giving, but is a critical Christian practice that expresses an understanding of God’s love and our place in creation. Goulard offers this view of stewardship in the Christian life:
Where do we start in reclaiming a word that’s become so widely misunderstood?
First, by clearly defining stewardship in our own minds. “Stewardship is foundationally understanding that we are not owners of things, but managers.”
He believes that at its core, stewardship is actually very simple. It basically boils down to three major points:
1. God owns it all.
2. We are all stewards.
3. We have a responsibility to manage it for His glory.
“If we understood these pieces, we would do things differently and everything would fall into place.”
At Christ Presbyterian we continue to develop this very sense of Stewardship. It is critical that we remind ourselves that all we have and all we are is not because of what we have done, but fully depends on God. This is easy for us to accept in the eternal reality of life, but we struggle to accept it in our daily life and success.
We perhaps get one of the clearest examples of the life of a steward from medieval society . Medieval stewards were managers who had all authority to act in the stead of the monarch or land owner. They were entrusted with the estate, and charged to utilize the property and resources in the best interest of the owner. The steward was not the owner and would often find himself in trouble with the owner when the line between stewardship and ownership began to be blurred by the steward. Stewards were powerful people in the society, but the power and influence was only due to the trust that the owner had placed in him.
This year perhaps we need to remind ourselves of this dynamic role of steward we have been entrusted with. Being a steward means being an “asset manager” for God. This role is established with a trust by God that we will act in God’s best interest and not our own.
As you pray and discern your financial commitment to God through Christ Presbyterian for the coming year, I want to invite you to consider how you are responding to the trust God has placed in you? Are you responding with that same trust in God?
Holy God, open our hearts and minds to remember that we are not our own but are yours. All we have, all we achieve and all we are is from your hands. Help us to be good stewards of the gifts you have given us. AMEN
Goulard quotes taken from, http://www.daveramsey.com/article/reclaiming-the-true-meaning-of-stewardship/lifeandmoney_church