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Stewardship.

Look out, the pastor’s going to talk about money!!!  Take cover, the pastor wants to get into our wallets again!  All the pastor ever does is talk about money!  Doesn’t the pastor know that if we don’t like what’s going on we can cut our offering and it will impact the pastor’s compensation?

Stewardship.  It’s not an easy topic for most pastors to talk about.  Often it causes a great deal of stress.  Often the people have a pretty negative view of stewardship too.  It’s all about money.

Except it’s not.  Stewardship is more than money.  Money is a piece of it, but it’s not the whole thing.  Stewardship is about caring for and advancing God’s kingdom through the resources that God blesses us with.  At least that my simple definition for it anyway.

It’s more than money.  Stewardship entails time, talent, treasure, and our selves too.

I’m reading a book called “The Steward” by Douglas John Hall, which was published in 1990.  It’s a pretty good book on stewardship. It cuts to the heart of the fact that we in the west have a flawed view and understanding of stewardship.  Part of the blame goes to Christendom – where the church propped up the state.  But it goes beyond that.

Here’s what Hall wrote on pg. 77 that struck me when I read it:

Obedient stewards of God’s varied grace must act – unlike that clearly judicious servant who feared his actions might end in the loss of his paltry talent (Matt. 25:1ff). They must be ready to risk, to rush in where the angels of the intellect fear to tread.  They must be prepared, too, to hear that they are fools. All they can do is to hope that their necessary folly might at last, thought God’s transforming grace, serve the cause of that ultimate wisdom that the wise ones and “debaters of this age” regularly miss (1 Cor. 1:18-19). Perhaps they will turn out to have been “fools for Christ,” after all (1 Cor. 4:10).

Another way of putting this is that we can’t sit by and wait.  We can’t bury what we have and hope that the society will change and come knocking on our doors.  We are called to be bold – to risk it all – for the sake of the Gospel.

We can either drip dry until we run out of resources and end up dead.  Or we can be stewards and use what God has entrusted to us to expand God’s kingdom.

It’s risky.  It’s scary.  It means we aren’t in control.  It may even mean the death of the church or a church.

But question is this – do we really believe what we claim to believe?  Or are we just not so sure that God keeps God’s promises?

Stewardship is one of the most essential parts of a church.  Not because churches need money to pay the bills.  But rather because at the core of it, stewardship is ultimately about our relationship with God.  Who is in charge?  Us or God.