St. John Lutheran

Church

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Sharing the Joy

of His Name


 

 

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life -- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him."  Romans 12:1  (The Message)

Stewardship

Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes.”


“Maturing stewards do the right things for the right reasons and strive for excellence in all they do!”

Stewardship Article - September 2019

 

What is a steward? Most people will say a steward is a manager.

 

That is correct, but it is only half right. A steward is indeed a manager, but he is a manager of what does not belong to him. Someone else is the owner, and the steward manages the owner’s property on the owner’s behalf.

 

We are God’s stewards. Our stewardship is that God has made us managers of what belongs to Him:

 

“For we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim. 6:7)

 

Everything that we have and everything that we are comes from God’s fatherly divine goodness and mercy. God is the owner.

 

This is not only because He created all things; He is also the redeemer. He has redeemed – that is, purchased – and won all things. Therefore, it all belongs to Him.

 

We are simply managers of everything in this world. Like Joseph in Egypt, we are put in charge of managing what belongs to God. What a privilege.

 

Think about that for a minute. The all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise God has asked us to manage his possessions on His behalf here on earth.

 

And by doing this, He invites us to take part in the allocation of His good gifts. He wants us to give our input and advise Him in where His gifts are to be used. What a privilege indeed.

 

But what a responsibility!

 

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48b).

 

We are not the owners. And while He puts us as managers, we are still to do with His property what He wants done with it. That means we need to know what He desires and wills for His property.

 

How do we know this? How can we know the will and mind of God?

 

We find the will of God in the Bible. There God tells us what His will is for all of His gifts. He tells us how we are to spend our time and use our talents and treasures. He instructs us in the use of our minds, bodies, and souls.

 

There is nothing we have that doesn’t belong to Him.

 

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

 

God informs us of the big picture, the overarching policy, of how we as His stewards – managers and custodians – are to manage His property.

 

And that is stewardship. It is simply doing what God wants us to do with what He has given us.

 

As St. Paul said,

 

“Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Rom. 6:13).

 

So, let’s dive into God’s Word, and listen to what He desires from His stewards. 


Our Father in heaven sent His Son, Jesus, to be our savior. His atoning sacrifice is the firstfruits of all the dead, a pleasing aroma to His Father – and ours – so that His perfect life and death count for all who believe in Him. 

He claimed us as His own children in Holy Baptism. He sustains and strengthens our faith with His Holy Word and His Body and Blood. As new creatures, who have put on Christ, we bear good fruit. We do the good works prepared for us, which He makes known to us in His Word. 

By faith then, trusting in the Word of God, we do what he says because He does not lie and al-ways keeps His promises. For “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6). 

And so the Lord promises: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Prov. 3:9-10). 

How do we honor the Lord with the wealth that God has given us in His generosity? By giving it generously to those whom the Lord has called us to love and support: your family, your society, and your church. And His promise is that in so doing, you will never lack.
 
I can almost hear it now: “But that’s from the Old Testament!” But our Lord Jesus Himself gives us similar promises in the New Testament. He says, at the conclusion of the parable of the tal-ents, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance” (Matt. 25:29). 

And then at the end of the parable of the dishonest manager, he says: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Luke 16:10–13). 

And in His sermon on the mount, he says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19–21).
 
We have become conditioned against these promises because of their misuse by the peddlers of the prosperity gospel – the guys on TV who say you get rich by putting God in your debt. And thus, we miss out on the fact that God does reward temporal faithfulness in temporal matters with temporal blessings. 

It’s no quid pro quo. It’s all from God’s grace, His fatherly divine goodness and mercy. But those Bible passages just quoted do in fact say what they say! It’s not the Old Testament’s problem. It’s ours. It is almost as if we have become so jaded against this that we think it a virtue to be stingy with our offerings.
 
But our Father in heaven still loves to bless those who bless others. He loves to give to those who give freely and generously. In fact, he challenges us to challenge Him: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Mal. 3:10).
 
And so, while we don’t give so that we would get, we do receive from the Lord in order to give, and He will bless your giving with more receiving. For “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:32)?

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Learn more about the 8 Biblical Stewardship Principles.