Stewardship ministers begin their work with a lifelong commitment to exploring the implications of this Psalm. Do we really believe the earth and all that is in it belong to God? What does it mean that we stewards and not owners? What does it mean that money and physical possessions belong to God but are entrusted to us? These and other spiritual questions are the substance of every stewardship effort. We need time and opportunity to wrestle with these ideas and understand the sharp contrast between what we believe as Christians and the norms and values of the culture. The conversations and reflections are essential if we are to mature as God’s stewards. The mission of the Church will grow as our own stewardship grows.
Here are a few more thoughts for the conversation….
STEWARD: A QUESTION OF CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
Merriam Webster defines “steward” this way: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts).
Scripturally the word “steward appears” throughout the Hebrew and Christian Testaments. The use of the word steward in scripture is consistent with the dictionary definition with two important exceptions:
First, we are not “employed.” We are members of the household of God and we were created to tend to God’s creation and all that is in it (Genesis 2:15) God graciously and freely gives to us all that we have and all that we are.
Second, our lives as God’s stewards extend to intangibles. We are stewards “of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10 NRSV) and of the “mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1 NRSV)
WHAT DO CHRISTIAN STEWARDS BELIEVE?
We affirm that we are stewards and NOT owners.
We acknowledge that all we have and all we are comes
In all that we do and in our use of all that is entrusted to us we seek to honor God and do God’s work.
We are accountable to God.
We do not desire to consume but to distribute God’s bounty.
A Prayer for the Right Use of God’s Gifts
Almighty God, whose loving hand has give us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honor you with our substance, and, remembering, the account which we must one day give, may we be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN (Book of Common Prayer Pg. 827)
For additional resources about stewardship in the Episcopal Church, please see: