Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Leaders

Introduction

Once we accept and yield to the truth that God owns everything and we own nothing, every decision about what and how we spend God’s money becomes a spiritual decision before it’s an economic one.

Read Acts 4/32-37

What an exciting Church! What an amazing attitude to money and possessions. They felt “that what they owned was not their own”.  They were being good stewards of all the material possessions that they had. In sharing the way they did, they were distributing God’s provision as per His instructions.

So, who or what is a steward? What were his/her responsibilities? What kind of authority did he/she have? What about accountability?

READ Luke 16/1, 2   &   Luke 12/42-4.

The meaning of this first parable has puzzled people for centuries. Our purpose at this point is not to try and explain or understand this parable. We refer to it because it gives us some insight into the role of a steward.

 A steward is one who assigns to the members of the household their several duties, and pays to each his /her wages. He kept the household stores under lock and seal, giving out what was required; and for this purpose he received a signet-ring from his master.

Make your way through the descriptions and make a list of the tasks and responsibilities for which the servant was accountable.

Can you see how appropriate this image of the “steward” is so far as our relationship to God and His possessions is concerned? The steward or manager never owned any portion of the materials. The estate in all its fullness belonged to the owner.

The steward had to be honest and trustworthy. His responsibility was to administer his master’s estate in accord with the master’s wishes.

So it is with us. If the money and possessions that are within our sphere of choice and influence, it is up to us to discern the intentions of our Master and apply His wishes to the use He has nominated.

Our stewardship effects all of our life. We have been emphasising the money/possessions aspect. But if God gives us time to serve Him, spiritual gifts to serve Him etc. then we are accountable for how we use these.

Everything that God has committed to us is to be used wisely and well and needs to be examined and subjected to the question, “What does my Master want me to do with this part of His estate?”

It’s a fair and practical question to ask, “How do we discern the intentions of our Lord so far as how He wants us to use His resources day by day?” The answer has to be the same as when we are seeking God’s will in any other aspect of the Christian life.

  1. If you have not yet been gripped by the two-fold truth that “God owns everything; we own nothing”, begin to pray regularly that God will secure that truth in your heart.

  2. Seek out an accountability partner or network. This person will need to be very trustworthy and honest with you. The purpose in asking them to have this role is NOT for you to unload all your financial issues on them but to include them from time to time in specific issues or situations in which they can pray for you and maybe offer some insights about that specific circumstance.

  3. Try to develop a flexible but systematic approach to your giving. Some people give by direct debit. Others (like myself) prefer to engage in the act of giving during a service of worship. We set aside our weekly offering in marked envelopes so that we don’t overlook our offering.

We might wind up this session by considering the story of the poor widow who gave her offering at the Temple.

 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

 

What do you learn about stewardship from the example of the widow? Does her action effect you positively or negatively?

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