Stewardship is more than giving money to the church

Stewardship can be a difficult subject in church circles. Pastor’s struggle to preach on the topic of stewardship because sermons focusing on stewardship can be seen as a money grab. Unfortunately, we frequently limit our discussion of stewardship to our money. That can be difficult because talking about how people use their money can make folks uncomfortable. People tend to see the use of their money as an intensely personal thing. People don’t like it when others tell them how to spend their money, how much money they should give, or that their relationship with money might be unhealthy.

Thankfully, stewardship isn’t totally about money. In fact, I would argue that money is only a small part of our call to be good stewards of the resources that God has blessed us with. The Bible has a lot to say about money, but there are other areas of our life that we must manage as citizens of the Kingdom of God. I would like to highlight a few areas of stewardship that aren’t highlighted as frequently as they should be in discussions surrounding this topic. Let’s begin with a couple of verses for consideration as we look at the different areas of stewardship.

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24

According to Paul, every area of our life is subject to the Lordship of Jesus. That means every area of our lives needs to come under his reign. That means our work, leisure, money, families, homes, and friendships fall into the category of needing to honor him. Here are a few specific areas of our lives that need to be reflected upon when it comes to stewardship.

Time: A lot of energy is dedicated to the value of money. We all realize it’s importance and those that don’t have money certainly feel the weight of not having it. I would argue that in our current cultural context, time is becoming the more valuable commodity. I don’t know of any person that isn’t constantly overwhelmed by their calendar. Busyness is the status quo for most all of us. It is difficult to find the time to do everything we want and need to do. I think we all feel like we could use a little more time in our day. We are never going to get more time so we need to figure out how to use the time we have more efficiently. We need to learn to be good stewards of the time we are blessed with. Obviously, this is easier said than done. If we don’t learn to do this well, then many of us will continue to feel like we are drowning in their own busyness. We must choose to use our time wisely. We need to make sure our use of time honors God and His Kingdom.

Spiritual Gifts: The Bible tells us that followers of Jesus have been granted spiritual gifts. To learn more about the spiritual gifts, check out Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. If we are Christians, then we have these gifts to offer and use. Are you stewarding your gifts well? Do you use the gifts granted to you for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom?

Health: This is one of the most difficult areas of self-control and stewardship for me. Paul asks a poignant question in 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own”. It is hard to get good care of ourselves. Our schedules make it difficult to eat well and to get the exercise we need. God wants us to be good stewards of the body he has given to us. I’m not good at this at all, but I need to be.

Creativity: Human beings are created in the image of God which, in part, means that we are to be creators as well. We all have the capacity to create. Some people are poets, painters, gardeners, architects, storytellers, preachers, teachers, and so on. We are all born with different talents, but we all have the ability to create beautiful and meaningful things. We must be good stewards of our creativity and use it for the kingdom. I don’t think we consider creativity much when it comes to honoring God and stewardship. That is unfortunate because the church is struggling in a lot of different areas right now. We need creative people with creative, Holy Spirit driven solutions to difficult and nuanced problems.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you spend the time that you have in God-honoring ways? Do you find that there isn’t enough time in your schedule to honor God appropriately?
  2. Do you know your spiritual gift or gifts? Do you need help determining what they are and how to use them? (Your pastor, mentor, discipleship director, or small group leader should be able to point you to resources to help.)
  3. Are you taking care of the body God has given you? Are you eating well and exercising? Are you getting the rest that you need?
  4. How are you using your creative abilities? Are you honoring God with your creativity?
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