Christian stewardship is not only about returning God’s tithe. God’s stewards are gratefully content with what they have. They recognize God as the provider and owner of everything and give Him glory for every received blessing.
In their imagination, they could see a vision of a peaceful life and prosperity — a perspective so different from living in tents, sojourning from place to place, and owning only what was absolutely necessary.
In this very time, God reminded them of something that we also tend to forget in times of peace and prosperity.
Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God . . ., lest — when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;
. . . then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth . . .
We probably do not meditate daily on the idea that having a roof over our heads, a comfortable bed, running water, food and a car are great blessings. Yet, if we have those things, we are better off than most people living on planet Earth. Additionally, they open before us opportunities to make our life even better. The things that we take for granted are just a beautiful dream for many others who will never have them during their lifetime.
How does this relate to Christian stewardship?
First, let us recognize our blessings. It is our nature to complain and always crave for more, but even the most modest among us live in better conditions than previous generations.
Second, recognize God as the source of all blessings. Interestingly, we tend to cry to God in times of distress but forget about Him in peace and prosperity. God appeals, “Remember Me! I am your source of skills and intelligence. Yes, you work hard, but you wouldn’t be able to do so, if I didn’t give you strength, health, and life. . .”
Third, think about, Why we are here? What is the goal of our life? We are going through the motions of sustaining our daily existence, but is that all? The paradox of life is that, too often, people who have “got it all” are “not happy at all.” Why? Because deep in our hearts, there is a desire to live for something bigger than us, to live for God and others. God embedded this desire at Creation.
Christian stewardship is not only about returning God’s tithe. God’s stewards are gratefully content with what they have. They recognize God as the provider and owner of everything and give Him glory for every received blessing. It is not their goal in life to accumulate as much as possible, but to use their means as much as possible to glorify God and to bring God’s Kingdom closer to those whom He loves so much.
“Seeking the good of others is the way in which true happiness can be found. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow men. The more unselfish his spirit, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for him.”
Arkadiusz Bojko is Illinois Conference’s Stewardship director and consultant for the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department.