“…there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which God, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” (Abraham Kuyper)
Stewardship is (mostly) misrepresented and misunderstood in the Church today; the result is a reluctance to speak of it, and a greater reluctance to participate. To the majority of Christians stewardship means giving, volunteering and fundraising; but the Biblical model of stewardship is about whole-life discipleship and the nurture and care of the entire world. Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24, ‘work heartily, because whatever you do you are serving the Lord Christ!’ At the end of Matthew's gospel, Jesus passes his mission on to his disciples, and tells them to turn the whole world into disciples. Being a disciple, according to those final words of Jesus, starts with baptism, but continues with learning to obey everything he taught us to do. Interestingly a considerable amount of what Jesus taught can be described as "stewardship".
By definition, stewardship is the management of someone else's property or affairs. This very definition requires a definitive answer to the question of who’s property are we managing? To whom does it all belong? Psalm 24:1 tells us, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the earth and all who live in it’. This, along with dozens of other passages in the Bible point to God’s uncontested ownership of all things; at no time do we ever read of God relinquishing ownership of anything that set into motion. As Christians, we bear the image of God, and this is a profound stewardship responsibility in and of itself; then there is the cash in our wallets, the children in our families, our intellect and creative capacities, the breath we breathe, and the gospel message itself - everything tangible and intangible; it all belong to God! Real stewardship then, is an attitude which colours the whole of life. It says to God ‘Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand’ (1 Chronicles 29:14b). These words apply to far more than just money, they apply to everything we have, and everything that we do; from how we respond to the question ‘have you got a minute?’ to how we live as global citizens in an ever changing world. Of course money, alongside time and talents has a very particular role in our discipleship journey. Our diaries and our bank statements can be seen as a window into the heart the discipleship; they give material shape to what we say about our commitment to follow Jesus. Stewardship, done well, gives a material and physical expression to the love we profess for God and for our neighbour in hours, actions, dollars and cents.
Stewardship is the path that God uses to mould us into the people he wants us to be. Our obedience and intentional stewardship of “every square inch in the whole domain of our human existence” provides us with an opportunity to vividly reflect his image, and respond to his love.
Jesus said ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Matthew 6:21)
What does your stewardship say about your discipleship journey?
Grace & peace,
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!