What Is Stewardship?
Because I’ve worked as an advisor in the Christian world for so many years, I’ve come to know many wealthy believers. Frequently, because I do know so many people with a lot of money, other friends come to me when they are raising money for a ministry or business. They believe that my relationships would be a good place for them to start as they raise funds for what they believe God is calling them to do. When this happens, I frequently have to tell them that the key to raising money is not MY relationships, it is THEIR relationships. People will give money to causes and callings that they see authentically worked out in the lives of those closest to them. My relationships aren’t likely to do them much good at all.
Relationship and resources go together; relationship and stewardship go hand in hand. If I am asked to be a steward of a particular set of resources, then it is important to be in relationship with the one who is asking me to handle their resources for them. Say, for instance, that someone gave me charge over a large estate and told me to refurbish it to be a place of peace and respite for visiting missionaries. Chances are good that I would need to be in contact with them frequently and in a trusting relationship with them, as well. Otherwise, I might end up refurbishing the estate to standards that did not really reflect their heart’s desire.
My stewardship relationship with God is no different at all. He has given me a unique package: relationships, talents, resources, time, geography, money, perspective, etc. He’s asked me to glorify Him through the “spending” of those resources. If I am not in relationship with Him, seeking His Truth and His plan, then I will not be able to steward those resources in a way that reflects His beauty or glory.
I like the relational distinction that Paul Miller draws in his book, A Praying Life. He says, “We forget we are embodied spirits, designed to hear from God…I prefer the biblical term wisdom to our more common term guidance. Guidance means I’m driving the car and asking God which way to go. Wisdom is richer, more personal. I don’t just need help with my plans; I need help with my questions and even my own heart.”(p. 145) With stewardship, begin by fostering your relationship with God. Know that He wants to speak to you. Know that being vulnerable before Him with all the pieces He’s entrusted to you lets Him lead you to those rich and personal places that Miller discusses. Stewardship is not a business contract; stewardship is a relational journey with God.
May God’s peace encourage you as you pursue financial wisdom and depend on His Truth.