I believe that most of us have the concept of stewardship wrong. If you’re like me, stewardship has been all about what we must give up in order to be good stewards. This reared its head several years ago when my supervisor told our team that we would be working over the weekend without pay so that the organization could practice “good stewardship.”
Since then, I have come to see stewardship differently, as an example of God’s trust in each of us. My favorite illustration is in the first and last chapters of the Bible. Genesis begins with God creating a perfect world. He then hands it over to the pinnacle of His creation, mankind. In my time working with the stewardship department, I have learned that this is stewardship. It is much more than mere money; it is about managing, using, and sharing what God has given us.
Unfortunately, in the next chapters, we see mankind ruining Creation. Throughout the Bible, that trend doesn’t let up as the Bible outlines murder, corruption, and all manner of selfish and unholy living. A fine response to God’s trust in us, right? Granted, there are several good seeds in the mix, but the Bible is very clear that mankind has been a horrible manager of God’s creation.
However, the importance of this comes in the final scenes of the Bible as it outlines future events when God forgives and rescues sinners, after which He scraps the rest of this world for a new one, not surprisingly. However, in Revelation 22:5, we read that God’s faithful followers will “reign forever and ever.” Despite the fact that we are ruining this first world, once more, we will be stewards of God’s creation. For this reason, stewardship points me to the love, forgiveness, and trust that God will always have for us. — Phil Riley is a temporary worker in the NAD Stewardship Department