Stewardship may well be one term which has fallen into misuse, at least within the church community. But not in the world about us. Environmental groups have long recognised that we are stewards of this world. The way in which we care for the environment determines the future of our children and grandchildren. Our stewardship of the natural resources can either be life-giving, or life-diminishing.
A central tenet of the walk of faith revolves around our understanding that all that we have been given is to be used in the fulfilment of God's purposes. Our time, our energy, our creativity, our financial resources, our talents, and even the message of the good news itself, is given to us as stewards. Unfortunately the same consumer society which brought the natural resources to the brink also threatens to bring the resources for ministry to the brink. Church folk are often more concerned with building their own kingdoms rather than building the kingdom of God.
Jesus recognised that the work of the kingdom is abundant: "Pray therefore that the lord of the harvest will send workers into the harvest." Who are these workers? You and I! The church.
As we look to the next five to ten years, significant changes are required which will require not only greater human resources, but greater financial resources. The need of the local community will increase as more people are left on the roadside of progress. The church buildings will need to be modernised or replaced. The call to us today is to leave a better equipped and better prepared church to the next generation than we were given.
The prevailing attitude in the church at large seems to be to give as little as possible to get by. Churches rarely seem to be in the position of saying "God's people have been so generous. What shall He have us do with these extra resources?"
Just over fifty years ago, the church began with a few people, no physical resources, and was built on the commitment and stewardship of followers of Jesus, whose resources were far less than those available to us today. Will we be equally faithful to the task of stewardship?
April 18 , 1999
feedback to the author