Stewardship Properly Defined
II Corinthians 3:4-5
Be honest with me! In the past years of your Christian life experience, when you have heard the word stewardship, has your immediate reaction been more positive or more negative? Over the years has the negative factor grown? Does the word automatically bring to mind financial matters? Does the word seem to arouse a spirit of obligation on your part? Do the thoughts of obligation generate feelings of guilt from past encounters with this word when they are remembered? Is your first reaction that of wanting to hide your wallet or checkbook because you feel that their content is threatened?
Most modern day Christians who have for years heard all the standard stewardship clichés spoken in most churches would have to answer "yes" to many, if not all of the above questions. Budget pressures within most churches force stewardship emphasis to be heavily overbalanced toward finances. When the stewardship of life is properly applied, financial performance becomes the effect of the stewardship, not the cause.
Satan is at his best when he can take a word intended of God to be positive, joyous, excitedly faith challenging, all encompassing, and through deceit change and narrow the definition of the word making it negative. By this process he robs the believer of the experiencing of God which so greatly enhances our awareness of His ways and who He is. Whether by intent or ignorance many religious leaders have becomes tools of this deception by improperly defining stewardship. Cookie cutter, clever, obligation causing clichés heard from peers and repeated in a chain reaction of deception may raise money, but in time will lead the hearer to answer all the above questions with a "yes".
"Stewardship" is most commonly presented as a noun. We have Stewardship Revivals, Stewardship Emphasis, Stewardship Banquets, Stewardship Seminars, Stewardship Month, and other events that begin with the word stewardship, almost all of which are designed to increase income to the entity sponsoring the event. Stewardship is at its best when used as a verb. It is the action word that proceeds the word steward. Stewardship can not be understood nor performed until a proper biblical definition of steward is heard, agreed with, believed, and acted upon by faith.
A steward is often defined as a caretaker, one who manages things that belong to someone else. That is a good biblical as well as practical definition. Biblically we must add that a steward is a creation of God. God created the stars, the earth, the wind, and stewards, along with the rest of His creation. Since we were created as stewards and there is nothing we can do about that, we must hear this, agree with it, believe it, and act upon it by faith, understanding that we will always be stewards.
There is a truth to live by discipline here that is most often overlooked. A steward by proper definition can not be an owner. Psalms 24:1 s ...
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