Whole Life Stewardship
Mention the term ‘stewardship’ at most churches today and you’re likely to see a lot of eyes rolling and hear some deep groans—just before people bolt for the door with one hand on their wallets. That’s because, in too many congregations, “stewardship” has become a cheesy euphemism for “The church wants your money.”
It’s a shame too because flowing out of God’s love for us in Jesus is a life of stewardship. Jesus wanted us to realize this so much that he discussed the issue of ‘our possessions’ more than any other topic second only to the Kingdom of God. Why do you suppose He did? Consider that He knew that the temptation to stay attached to the things of this world would be strong. He focused on the blessing that comes from the exchange of our finite lives for His abundant eternal Life. In 1 Timothy 6:19; Paul writes: “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” This passage shows a direct connection between the stewardship (management) of our possessions and our access to the abundant life Jesus offers. If only we would be more willing to “lose our life in order to find it!” The purpose of Whole Life Stewardship is what Jesus wants FOR you and not what the church or anyone else wants FROM you. By delaying our trust response to Him, we are missing out on the abundant life He promises.
St. Luke’s Stewardship Committee is energized to Awaken Hearts in Every Generation to the Power of Life in Christ – through sharing the biblical truths of Whole Life Stewardship. The first thing you should know is that St. Luke’s does not want anything from you. Whatever you and I think we ‘own’ already belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1 – “The Earth is the Lords…”). You and I are simply stewards, caretakers, supervisors or managers of the ‘stuff’ He sends to us.
Stewardship may be a battered term, but that doesn’t change the term’s character and rich history.
In the parable of the talents, Jesus was clear that the servant who didn’t trust his master, and who, out of fear, hid his talents, ended up displeasing the master upon his return. The servant’s error wasn’t what he did with his talents. His error was believing that his master was not trustworthy. Stewardship is where God teaches us trust. The servant misjudged his master because his perspective was distorted. He thought that if he lost anything the master gave him, that he’d be punished. It was clear he didn’t know his master’s heart. So, he buried his talents.
Jesus paid the ultimate price to give us the Life of Freedom. Therefore, we can freely use all the gifts He gives to grow His Kingdom! If we hold back and don’t entrust to Him what He’s loaned to us, then upon His glorious appearing, we will be ashamed like the unfaithful servant.
To steward something is more than tithing, budgets or even money. It means to think thoroughly about all of the gifts that proceed from His hand. The faithful servants who invested their talents in their master’s kingdom experienced powerful, wondrous and life-changing transformations. They were ushered into a new way of life – the life their master had planned for them in His kingdom.
That kingdom is active among us at this very moment – the more we trust Christ with the time, talents and treasures (T3) that He’s given, the faster we travel along the superhighway of a life-altering adventure with Jesus. Nowhere in His parable does Jesus mention the checking off of a box (like meeting a church budget), but there is a message of managing what’s been given for a much greater purpose. There’s also no mention of life getting easier – so Whole Life Stewardship is not about acquiring ‘more stuff’ from this world as some have claimed. Whole Life Stewardship is about trust and trust involves risk. When we ‘risk’, like the faithful servants did, we, like them, will be ushered into the greater and glorious life He has in store for us! By not trusting Christ more, you are missing out on all that He has in store for you.
Stewardship, therefore, is about what God wants for you. St. Luke’s wants this for you as well – not anything from you. Christ calls us deeper — into a deeper relationship with Himself. Jesus spoke a lot about our “stuff” because He knew our desire for material possessions would hold us back from experiencing all He has for us. The St. Luke’s Stewardship Committee wants you to experience all that Jesus has for you when you trust Him with everything you have. This is Whole Life Stewardship. When we truly give Him ownership over all “our stuff” and our very lives, He will take care of us – and the budget.
St. Luke’s Stewardship & Development Director