Stewardship. A strange word in today’s vocabulary. At first glance it sounds an awful lot like someone who is employed by airlines and cruise ships. While I sure love the snacks and drinks provided on planes and cruises, I can assure you that stewardship is very different than being a stewardess.
So, what exactly is this peculiar word and why is it important?
Stewardship simply means acting with responsibility when it comes to the things we own or control. Things like our time and our talents, our resources and our finances.
Stewardship is not a typical topic of conversation in our culture but it is something the Bible desires for us to seriously consider. In 1 Chronicles 29, King David says that all (yes, ALL) we have comes from the Lord, and should be given back to Him.
There are two aspects of stewardship, this idea of giving back to God, that have had a profound impact on my family. The first is financial giving. When Dave and I sat down as a newly married couple 13+ years ago, it was a humbling experience to set aside 10% of our income to tithe to our local church. We found it easy (too easy) to say “We could really use that money for other things!” but ultimately stayed committed in our decision to give.
As our financial situation has changed over the years we’ve been able to contribute more money, not only to our church, but to other ministries as well. We have seen our donations used to bless people all over the world – Compassion children, a small village in South Africa, natural disaster relief funds – as well as lives changed right here in our own city.
I can truthfully say that our family has been blessed because of this. While saving money is important to us we are also not blind to the fact that, when our life here on earth ends, our bank accounts will not enter eternity with us. We would rather see our money used in ways that help others experience the love of Jesus.
The second thing our family has tried to be intentional at is in the giving of our time and talents. There are only 168 hours in a week. When you factor in school and work and sports and sleep (my favorite!) and the million other things we have going on – 168 hours goes by quickly. Our life is busy, as I’m sure yours is too, so we have had to make a conscious effort to set aside some of those hours to do things that have a positive impact on our community. For us it means volunteering at church, providing a safe and loving home for foster children, being a supportive voice on the PTA, and creating homeless kits to give away whenever we drive by someone who is less fortunate.
God has given each of us something to share.
Your strengths and talents are different than mine – there are things you have to give that I can’t. 2 Corinthians 9:7 encourages us to be “cheerful givers” and that is exactly the attitude I desire to have in all areas of stewardship. Will you join me on this call to obedience and ask yourself a very personal question: “What do I have to offer?”