Stewardship Is About More Than Money

Written by Dr. Rex M. Rogers on . Posted in Local

stewardshipStewardship" is a Christian jargon word. It's part of Church culture.

There's nothing wrong with the word. In fact, it's a good and useful one. But in my view stewardship has been pigeonholed by the Church, co-opted for one purpose at the expense of others.

Generally, when Pastor announces he's going to speak on "Stewardship" his topic is money...or more specifically, giving. And people run for the exits.

Pastors should, of course, talk about money and giving, but is this all-and-only what stewardship means? I don't think so.

What Is Stewardship?

The book of Genesis tells us God is the Creator of the Universe and everything in it, including human beings. At the end of the Creation period God put human beings, his greatest creation, "in charge."

"What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:4-8; Hebrews 2:6-7).

God vested human beings with both responsibility and accountability for caring for the earth's resources (Genesis 1:28). In other words, he made us stewards, and he expects us to be faithful in carrying out our duties (1 Corinthians 4:2).

God told us to do "good works" (Hebrews 13:6; James 2:26). And he said, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord," (Colossians 3:23).

Stewardship of Treasure

With all that, isn't money or material wealth part of our stewardship? Certainly. In fact, about 2,000 verses are devoted to the subject of money, while about 500 address prayer and 500 talk about faith. Money matters to God because he knew it would be a major issue for us.

Yet it isn't money per se that's the problem. 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil," is regularly misquoted in television and cinema productions. They forget the "love of" part, which is the part that gets us in trouble.

God commands, just like the preachers remind us, that we must be good stewards of our assets, i.e., our "treasure." And giving is involved.

In Proverbs, God says, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more, another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (11:24-26). Giving is an expected part of the Christian life, not only in the form of a tithe to God, but also as offerings to good causes over and above our tithe. In all this, we are to be cheerful givers (I Cor. 9:7).

Stewardship of treasure is the responsibility of every Christian within the level of means God has provided. In the New Testament, Jesus praised the Widow for her sacrificially given mite, one of the smallest of Middle Eastern coins. God blesses all gifts given in true charity.

Stewardship of Talent

Every human being is born with natural gifts and every believer in Christ is born again with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). God gave each of us these gifts, i.e., "talents," to enable us to fulfill our role and opportunities in the world.

Individuals who under use, refuse to use, abuse, or misuse their talents quite literally waste themselves and miss what might have been. They squander their physical, intellectual, or emotional capital and both they and society are the losers for it. People who develop their talents for good purposes serve themselves and society. Blessings ripple beyond perceived immediate benefits, for not only do they contribute they do not cost society and we are all the winners for it.

Rest is not a sin, but laziness is. Work is good, but workaholic commitment can backfire. Talent developed "unto the Lord" blesses all.

Stewardship of Terra Firma

God cares about conserving the environment, which is to say he cares about stewardship of Creation, including all his creatures great and small (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). God allowed, actually commanded, human beings to use and develop natural resources for productive purposes. We may use natural resources, we must use them wisely according to God's principles, and we will answer to God for how well we perform our role as caretakers.

What we called "conservation" when I was young seems to have gotten lost in the emotional rhetoric of all sides of the environmental debate. But God has not forgotten. What He gives to us, He expects us to conserve, and we'll answer to Him for how well we do it.

Stewardship of Time

A few years ago I wrote a book called Gambling: Don't Bet On It (1997, 2005). The focus of the book was America's pell-mell rush to throw away money in the celebration of irrationality now euphemistically called "gaming."

If I wrote the book again I'd add a chapter about time. On several occasions, when I've spoken about gambling, I've been approached by a woman with tears in her eyes saying, "My husband is a good man, but he's spending all his time in the casino." I ask, "Are you losing money?" "Yes," she says, "But he's spending all his time in the casino," and then she begins to cry. Her concern is not the money. It's the time lost with a beloved spouse.

Time is more valuable than money. We are to number our days (Psalm 39:4-5; 90-12), and we are responsible for how we use our time on earth (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:12). We will some day given an account (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Stewardship

Finally, knowing our stewardship activities would sometimes produce what today we call "stress," God encouraged us not to be weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13). We will reap in due season.

A truly Christian worldview understands that stewardship involves treasure, talent, terra firma, and time. God commands us to care for the world (people and nature) even as he commands us to carry a message of reconciliation into the world. He wants us to "be productive" in the best sense of the term, to work (bless), to wait (persevere), and to watch (hope) until Jesus returns.

Stewardship is about living out our faith in every part of life and culture, "all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Dr. Rex M. Rogers, President SAT-7, www.sat7usa.org,

www.rexmrogers.com, www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
Author Information
Dr. Rex M. Rogers
About:
Rex M. Rogers (born 1952[1]) serves as President of SAT-7 USA, the American promotion and fundraising arm of SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. SAT-7 SAT-7, based in Nicosia, Cyprus, supports quality, indigenous-produced programming on four channels in three languages, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.

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