Stewardship has become a bit of church jargon for giving, especially planned giving. But, as Bleadon church has discovered in recent times, there is a reason why the word is used and it has deep implications.
A steward is someone who looks after someone else’s property. So whose are we looking after? “Mine”, says God, the world and everything in it is mine” (Psalm 50 v. 10-11) and we are expected to look after it well as the parable of the talents told by Jesus says (Matthew 25: 14-30). The servants were given money, expected to trade well with it, and then hand it back. This puts a different perspective on our possessions and what we do with them.
It also puts a different perspective on giving. Generosity is a virtue – recognised generally as a human virtue. But for Christians it should underpin our behaviour because, without God’s generosity, Jesus would not have come here to save us.
Exploring these concepts has meant taking a different attitude to giving. Our problems are still there: we have a shortfall in our regular giving: there is the cost of growing the ministry of the church: and there are renovation plans in the pipeline. But recognising that it is God’s money being provided for God’s work, motivated by the love of God, makes us more confident of the outcome.
Some of the Bible stories we have explored are:-
Naaman, the Syrian leper (2 Kings 5)
The ten lepers, one of whom said thank you (Luke 17)
The woman who put a penny in the collection box (Mark 12)
The Greeks who put their hands in their pockets to help the poor of Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8)