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Rev. Keith D. Manuel

What is Christian stewardship? How can I be a faithful steward of God's gifts? Christian stewardship is a way of living in which we recognize that everything belongs to God. All resources must be used for His glory.  A steward is someone who handles affairs for someone else. In ancient kingdoms, stewards ran the country in the absence of the king. Upon the king's return, the steward gave a full accounting for his actions. Even when the king was present, the steward often handled the daily affairs of the kingdom. However, a steward did not own the kingdom. And, the king determined when and how long a steward would serve him.  Joseph was one of the greatest stewards of all time!

In Genesis 41, we find the story of Joseph and how Pharaoh made him steward over the land of Egypt. Joseph was not part of the royal family, and he would not inherit the throne. Yet, because of Joseph's wisdom and discretion given by God, Pharaoh entrusted the entire kingdom to his care. "You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you" (Genesis 41:40).

"THE LORD HAS MADE EVERYTHING FOR ITS PURPOSE" (Proverbs 16:4)

Stewardship respects the purpose for which things were made. When God commanded Adam and Eve to subdue all creation, He was not implying that creation and man were adversaries. There was no sin, and the creatures of the earth did no harm to Adam or Eve. The created order was given by God to man so that man might achieve his temporal purpose in preparation for heaven's glory. It was expected that Adam and Eve would subdue the earth by using its resources for the advancement of humanity. As they filled the earth, they would need its resources.

The primary purpose of all creation is twofold: to give glory to God and to serve man's needs in preparation  for the accomplishment of the vision of heaven.

Because stewardship is collective, the service provided to man by a particular resource is not intended for only one man. Christian stewardship is the only way we fulfill the commands of God. The Lord challenges us to consider the dignity and freedom of each person.

When Jesus saw the widow putting her "two pennies" in the Temple treasury, He told His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living" (Mark 12:43-44). And that is what God expects from us.

 God gave us life and the gift of eternal life. He created us for Himself, and He wants our total person (Matthew 19:16-24). How we use the resources in our control expresses our gift of self to God.

Stewardship does not mean giving generous gifts from our possessions. Stewardship means that we recognize God owns it all. We have been entrusted with the goods of the earth, yet we own nothing.

We have an obligation to provide for ourselves and our families and to maintain a way of life that respects our own dignity as persons. Yet we must recognize that most of us in North America have opportunities and resources at our disposal that other people will never have.

Pastor Keith D. Manuel