Church ministry and leadership

3. Christian stewardship


Steward-ship is the systematic and proportionate giving of TIME, ABILITIES and MATERIAL POSSESSIONS based on the conviction that these are a trust from God, given to be used in His service, and for the benefit of His kingdom. It is a divine-human partnership, with God as the senior partner.
It is a way of living; based on the understanding that all of self, abilities and possessions, belong to the Eternal God.

The difference between ownership and stewardship

i. Ownership: God owns all things.

(Psa 24:1 NIV) The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it
(Hag 2:8 NIV) ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty.

ii. Stewardship

We, not being owners, are stewards, being responsible for all we are given to control.

(Mat 25:14-30 NIV) “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. {15} To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. {16} The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. {17} So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. {18} But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. {19} “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. {20} The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ {21} “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ {22} “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ {23} “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ {24} “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. {25} So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ {26} “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? {27} Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. {28} “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. {29} For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {30} And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

(Luke 19:11-26 NIV) While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. {12} He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. {13} So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ {14} “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ {15} “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. {16} “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ {17} “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ {18} “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ {19} “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ {20} “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. {21} I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ {22} “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? {23} Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ {24} “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ {25} “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ {26} “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

iii. We are to be responsible for:

a. What we have received.

(Acts 17:25 NIV) And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
(James 1:17 NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

b. What we have been given to use.
c. What has been entrusted to us.
d. That for which we we labour.

What is required to be a good steward?

i. Faithfulness. Not forgetting, not making other things more important, not giving up or becoming unreliable.

(1 Cor 4:1-2 NIV) So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. {2} Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

ii.. Servant’s Heart.

(Rom 12:10-13 NIV) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. {11} Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. {12} Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. {13} Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

(Gal 5:13 NIV) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

iii. Teachable.

(Psa 27:11 NIV) Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

iv. Giving

(Luke 6:38 NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Read the Parable of the Steward Luke.16:1-13.

Don’t confuse giving by confining it to the ecclesia. Giving to God is called oblation. The foundation of giving is a giving and grateful heart and an expression of thankfulness which expresses itself towards God and all of creation<.

The misuse of money

In all acts of stewardship great care is needed when dealing with money.

(1 Tim 6:7-10 NIV) For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. {9} People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Note that money is not evil in itself, it is neither moral or immoral. It is the LOVE OF MONEYor the sin of coveting which is the root of all kinds of evil.