The Great News of Biblical Stewardship for Being Formed in Christ
As baptized members of the Body of Christ, we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We proclaim the Gospel as the Word of God. In our faith we recognize the gifts which God has first given us through grace and accept our role as stewards.
The following principles provide a foundation for a life as faithful and generous stewards.
A grateful steward is our Christian response to what God has first given us -- the gift of Jesus Christ and the community of believers. We recognize that God comes first. As the Apostle Paul wrote of the Macedonians:
"but first they gave themselves to the Lord" - II Corinthians 8:5
A responsible steward is our way of acknowledging and showing faith in the Gospel. This involves how we treat ourselves, our family and others. Paul writes,
"... you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the Gospel of Christ" - II Corinthians 9:13
A self-sacrificing steward is based on the self-sacrifice of Christ. For our sake, Jesus gave up everything to make us rich through the cross and the resurrection. We too are called to sacrifice so others may share in God's Word and blessings.
"... gave according to their means, and even beyond their means."
- II Corinthians 8:3
A willing steward means each person is moved by the Holy Spirit and is prepared to give of himself/herself. We are to freely give our time, talents, and resources. Paul writes of the Macedonians,
"For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave ..."
- II Corinthians 8:3
A sharing steward recognizes the unique gifts each person has received and that the purpose of these gifts is for the good of the community of God. We are to use and share our gifts for the benefit of all.
"And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work."
- II Corinthians 9:8
A proportionate steward is our way of giving in relation to our abundance. We are to give according to our "means," not according to an income or budget. Paul told the Corinthians,
"If the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he has not."
- II Corinthians 8:12
A committed steward means making a statement about your intent and following through. As members in the Body of Christ, we are asked to make a commitment of our time, talents, and resources as a faithful response to God and as a statement of support for God's work. Paul encourages us to
"... arrange in advance for the gift you have promised."
- II Corinthians 9:5
A regular steward means practicing our stewardship on a daily basis. By doing so this becomes a lifestyle. Paul instructs us to
"On the first day of the week, let each one lay aside their offering, as God has prospered them."
- I Corinthians 16:2
A genuine steward means putting your faith into action. This is the tangible demonstration of what is sincerely on our hearts and where our treasure is, not simply a verbal expression. The Macedonians set an example that Paul called to the attention of the Corinthians.
"... to prove by the earnestness of others that your love is also genuine."
- II Corinthians 8:8
A challenged steward recognizes the dynamic nature of our faith. As our faith grows so will our blessings and our responsibilities. Paul writes,
"... the one who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
- II Corinthians 9:6
Our role as God's stewards is one of many dimensions -- grateful, responsible, self-sacrificing, willing, sharing, proportionate, committed, regular, genuine, and challenged. By generouosly giving of ourselves, we discover joy in Christ.
"... you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
- II Corinthians 9:7