Stewardship: Matter of the Heart
By Brad Ransom
By definition, according to Merriam-Webster, stewardship is “conducting, supervising, or managing something.” The interesting thing about stewardship is how we think of it in terms of tithing and giving for Christians.
Many times I’ve heard people say, “I tithe because 10% belongs to God.” Though I understand the logic behind that statement, the truth is, 100% belongs to God. As stewards, we simply manage what God has put under our care. The Apostle Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Being a faithful steward means I remember and act like every dollar I have and spend is God’s money.
Stewardship and Missions
One way we apply this is through missions. The Great Commission requires Christians to go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20). I am responsible to witness to my neighbor, friend, coworker, and others I meet on a daily basis. It is also my responsibility to reach those in other geographical regions, from my state to every country in the world.
How can I reach people I don’t know in places I’ll never go? Through faithful stewardship of God’s money and sending church planters to places I can’t go. It’s all part of stewardship. On top of the 10% we give to our local churches, we should also support church planting and missions as a regular part of our giving.
Stewardship and Me
So, what does all this mean to me? How should we apply stewardship to our daily lives? Here are a few key points to remember. Everything belongs to God— money, possessions, even time. When I pay my mortgage, I spend God’s money. When I fill up the gas tank in my car, it’s God’s (including the car). When I give my tithes to my local church, it’s His anyway. As I support missions, I do it with God’s money. It’s all His.
When we approach stewardship from the perspective of manager rather than owner, it’s easier to give it away. I believe the foremost stewardship question in our minds should be, “Is God pleased with the way I manage His money?”
I believe one of the most convicting passages of Scripture is Malachi 3:8-9, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” This passage is convicting because it is true for far too many Christians.
Again, it goes back to our idea of stewardship. Why rob God of His own resources? The truthful answer is that we have laid claim to what rightfully belongs to Him. When we correct our thinking and remember our biblical role as stewards, it becomes much easier to manage correctly.
About the Writer: Brad Ransom is director of church planting for Free Will Baptist Home Missions. Learn more: www.homemissions.net.