My spiritual growth has been evolving since I accepted Christ as a young boy. As with most areas in life, this growth has been richly gifted by God’s grace. I benefited from a loving home and never lacked for the basic needs. The general concept of “stewardship,” however, was not one I often considered. My parents always gave faithfully, although I never knew whether it was an official “tithe.”
Merriam-Webster defines “Stewardship” as: The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
What are the gifts entrusted to us by God? Our life, first and foremost, as well as our talent, time and treasure. To whatever degree, we all have special talents and abilities. These gifts from God are a blessing and a responsibility.
Our time is a finite concept. We have 24 hours in a day, much of which is allocated to work, family and rest. How do we make room for Stewardship? For me, I am striving to have Christ and his love in everything I say and do. The idea is to “Pray without ceasing,” looking for opportunities for God to communicate with us and guide us. I try to remind myself that no kindness is wasted when helping others. It is a joy to see their positive reaction, even with the smallest courtesy.
God gives us special talents and abilities. Though we may have honed these abilities through diligent study and work, our ability to think and succeed is a gift from God. In my work, it is my duty to try to glorify God by sharing his love and grace. Though I often fail in many ways, it is the striving to keep God foremost in our minds that can promote spiritual growth.
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.
In terms of sharing our treasure, we have a multitude of options. What luxuries could I have given up in order for those resources to be used instead for church and charities? Have I personally lived up to God’s expectations in this area? No, I have often fallen short, giving my own selfish “wants” priority over the true “needs” of my neighbors.
C.S. Lewis has some challenging and relevant comments: The only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. Our charities should pinch and hamper us. If we live at the same level of affluence as other people who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little.
The following passage reminds us that loving our neighbor entails more obligation than financial Stewardship: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. – Matthew 23:23
The primary lesson I have learned about Stewardship is twofold: Generosity and Love are at the core of our faith. Sharing God’s gifts with others, whether financial gifts, volunteering our time, or simply interacting with other people in a kind, respectful manner, is our duty and Christian obligation. Sharing God’s love is fun!
—John Burwell, Stewardship Committee