Let me come out and say, I am one of those people that do not look forward to stewardship day in church. Before you stone me, hear me out. Not that I hate the subject, I hate what the subject has been turned into. I know that if it’s stewardship day, I must expect a sermon from Malachi 3:10 or if I am lucky, the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). From there, I can bet you the afternoon lesson is on returning tithes and offerings. You must see me yawning right now. Do you now understand why I personally do not like stewardship day? They should much rather just call it the money department day to be more accurate.
Stewardship is such a broad concept. Of course, it includes money, but it does not end with money. Consider the following train of thought for a while. When God made the man, every other aspect of creation was done. This included the animal kingdom; the food and plants; the days of the week and so on. God then said, “…and let them have dominion over…” Gen 1:26. What is dominion? An equivalent word would be “rule”. So, tell me, does Cyril Ramaphosa the current president of South Africa own South Africa; the people; the money; the land and all other things? Of course not! Is he, on the other hand, the ruler? He is! Same with you and I in the kingdom of God. He made us and placed us in a position to rule over certain aspects of life, but we do not own them, we just have been entrusted with those. Cyril Ramaphosa does not wake up one morning and decide to declare a public holiday for no reason because he is president. Although I must mention, it would be extra cool for the working class if he were to succeed in doing that. Why? He reports to those who entrusted him with the position and answers questions on the use of that day as a leisurely day. You too, are accountable to the One who put you in the position of dominion. You do not wake up and do as you please because the resources that have been given you, you are answerable to God for them.
With that said, realise then how this broadens stewardship. It begins when you wake up. The life is not yours, you have been given by God and it is a gift to breathe. The body that leaves the bed is not yours (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), how you dress it (1 Peter 3:2); feed it (1 Corinthians 10:31); treat it (3 John 2) matters to the one who entrusted you with it. The water you use for your shower does not come from the municipality. If He had not created the spring; rivers; oceans; dams and fountains, you would be doomed. The food you eat is neither for your gratification nor sharing on Instagram. It is to nourish and keep in health the body that you have been lent and that means whatever you feed it puts you still in the line of accountability. Moreover, the food itself is not limited to your feeding only but any other steward who has not what he can feed the body with. It’s not your food, God just made you a depositary. The clothes you wear, we call them yours because English has no better word for situations like these. If one of God’s rulers is in need, you supply. The car and the house, He has lent you not only for your comfort but for service to those who will come your way in need of transportation. He gave the house to you because He knew at some point a preacher may need a place to sleep while holding an evangelical meeting. He knew that His children may need a meeting place to pray and study the word. He knew that an orphan might need to pass by and sleep for a couple of days. You are merely a channel to the relief of humanity. Then, of course, the money as well. Not only are you responsible for tithe and offerings, but whatever remains is still not yours. The difference is that with this one, you can use it for personal things, which at the end of the day are also blessings to those around you. For me, in money I can tell you now, I do not believe that there is 10% for God and 90% for me. I mean honestly, if you are merely given dominion over what you found here, of which money is included, what can you call yours? I believe that with money, tithe plus freewill offering has already been predetermined as to its destination then the rest, God reveals as you go along day to day.
There comes also the issue of strength; time; skills; talents and opportunities. These are often ignored, and I really don’t know why. Maybe because we have idolised the money aspect and shrunk the whole idea of serving God into just giving Him money as though He is some street beggar. What an insult! Why would God give us things that would never be employed in His work? I can tell you now, most people are so lax with the stewardship of time and opportunities. I used to be one of those that never honoured time at all until I learnt that the whole 6 days God gives me time to practice keeping and using time properly so that I could keep the Sabbath time properly as well. I am not talking here about merely arriving before Sabbath School and leaving after sunset. No. I am talking about how I spend my special day with the Creator; how I use my fellowship time; the thoughts I spend that lunch hour on and so much more. How about opportunities? Many will stand to answer on judgement day for letting go of opportunities that could have brought blessing; healing; salvation and more to humanity.
The whole concept of stewardship is what brings us to the ned point that we are not our own and just like the order in heaven, none ought to live unto self. In every aspect of your life, you are steward! Come again sometime as we visit the bible and understand how faithful stewardship gives happiness and meaning to our life.