Stewardship is often defined as “the proper management of our daily life for the glory of God.” I think this is incomplete. Stewardship is wider and deeper than a Sunday School definition. Stewardship is whole life stewardship. It is our time, talents and treasures, but it is also our relationships, including a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jonathan Falwell preached a sermon series on these principles that included the inclusion of “temple” and “testimony” to the traditional three (Falwell, 2008). I think that is getting closer to what stewardship demands. Stewardship is certainly managing everything because it all belongs to God.
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV).
- The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1, ESV).
However, if one looks closely at Matthew 25:14-30, the servants were not rewarded for just managing the money. They were rewarded (well done, enter my joy) for investing what belonged to the master and producing a profit for him (Matt. 25:21, 23). The man with one talent “managed” the single property entrusted to him and rather than rewarded, he was condemned as being wicked and slothful and then was sentenced to “outer darkness”—a place “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30, ESV). He returned what was given to him. He managed it.
Stewardship is greater and more expansive than just managing time, talent, treasures, testimony and temple for the glory of God. Upon further examination of the Scripture passage in Matthew 25, it could be argued that it is more than just the management of everything in our life; but the investment of everything in our life. Stewardship is better defined as investing every aspect of our life for the glory of God.
Church planters must focus on producing a return on investment (ROI) for the Master when he returns. God entrusted you with people, resources, time, abilities, mental capacities, and relationships. You will be tempted to manage those things. Management is generally reactive. Investment is more proactive. For 2012, think about your personal, spiritual and missional life. How will you invest in those aspects for the glory of the Master?
Falwell, J. Deal Or No Deal: The Choice is Yours – It’s Not My Treasure, It’s His! Accessed Dec. 09, 2011 http://www.sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?ContributorID=&SermonID=121251