December 20, 2022

Seven Layers of Stewardship

The holidays are a special time of the year for families to come together and surround each other with joy, love and laughter, all while indulging in food you have been craving all year long.

Growing up, one of my favorite dishes at Thanksgiving was my mother’s seven-layer salad. Vegetables and I were not the best of friends then. However, it was something about these particular vegetables, that while I would not happily ingest on a normal basis, somehow merged together to form a delightful and satisfying dish.

The recipe for a seven-layer salad is quite simple:

  1. romaine or iceberg lettuce
  2. tomatoes
  3. peas (thawed)
  4. cucumbers
  5. carrots
  6. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
  7. cheddar cheese

Sprinkle paprika, fresh herbs, scallions or imitation bacon bits for more flavor. You can substitute vegetables as you desire (i.e., broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, etc.)

Throughout the year, we have examined the concept of stewardship, described as more than just the opportunity of giving. Stewardship can be viewed as a wholistic approach to finances or, in another sense, a “financial way of life.” While giving is the end result of becoming a faithful steward, it is recognized that there can be many challenges along the way which can create an unbalanced financial lifestyle.

Consider the following seven ingredients for a healthy steward:

  1. Love for God
  2. Routine prayer life
  3. Minimize financial stress
  4. Create a balanced budget
  5. Establish a proper savings
  6. Have complete faith in God
  7. Practice obedience and love through giving

Contemplate the previously mentioned dislike of eating certain vegetables individually. The notion of me attempting to ingest peas on their own was inconceivable. However, with the assistance from an additional delectable food source, the possibility of consumption became more feasible. The same can be said for giving. For some, the idea of returning a faithful tithe and a generous offering seems improbable, due to various financial constraints currently present. On the contrary, by adding the additional six ingredients to the “bowl of giving,” you have created a habit that’s not only colorful and beautiful to observe, but its enjoyable and pleasing to partake in.

We have discussed several aspects to the ministry of Stewardship and how we can enhance our financial outlook, becoming more of a financial blessing to God’s ministry. II Corinthians 9:6–8 states, Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly (grudgingly, KJV) or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly” (NIV).

As we enter into the season of thankfulness and giving, may we all recognize that God gives us more than just a simple bowl of peas, but a rich and delightful dish to consume, bringing us great joy and happiness.


Jermaine Jackson is Stewardship director and associate treasurer of the Lake Union Conference.