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From the Summer 2013 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

What is My Relationshiop to My Stuff?

by E.G. “Jay” Link
President, Stewardship Ministries

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  This is what God did with Jesus. God was willing to redeem us by offering the blood of His own Son, so He could again own us—“a people for His own possession.” You see, God owns Christians twice—once because He made us and the second time because He bought us back after we were lost.
  One last thought on this leg: what was the reason Paul gave in Titus 2:14 for why God was willing to redeem us? It was so we could be “zealous for good deeds.”

Leg 3

  The final leg is the fact that we own nothing. We are called by God to be stewards, carrying out the Owner’s wishes for His property. It is at this point that we need to come to grips with the terribly misused and abused concept of stewardship.
  Before I focus on what stewardship does mean, let me tell you what it does not mean. Churches routinely use the term stewardship to refer to their capital campaigns. These campaigns are simply fund-raisers used to get church members to give. But since fund-raiser has such a negative connotation, they substitute (incorrectly) the seemingly nobler phrase stewardship drive.
  You will often hear churches and pastors use stewardship as a synonym for tithing. I have seen in many church papers and bulletins the term stewardship used as a heading to report the weekly offerings and attendance. All of these uses that link stewardship to giving and tithing are inadequate at best—and entirely wrong at worst.
  By definition, a steward is “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others, a manager.” So for us to be “stewards for God,” we must acknowledge that all we are and all we have possession of belongs to Him. We are charged with managing His property according to His wishes.
  You can see that stewardship is not at all a synonym for tithing and fund-raising; it is actually the opposite. Tithing has to do with what you give; stewardship has to do with what you keep. In other words, it is about how you manage everything that you have been entrusted to oversee. What most people miss is that stewardship is more about how you manage what is left over after you give than it is about what you give.
  The radical, biblical concept of stewardship is easy enough to understand intellectually. However, it is anything but easy to consistently apply and live out. So what is your relationship to your stuff? You are not the owner; you are merely the caretaker of somebody else’s property. And it is your job to manage all of it according to the Owner’s wishes. Now, that really changes the game, does it not?

This article comes from:  
E.G. “Jay” Link, Who’s in Charge Here?, Life Stewardship Series Curriculum, Session 1, Lesson 1 (Mooresville, IN: Stewardship Ministries, 2013), 7–10.
© 2010 Stewardship Ministries | All Rights Reserved.

E.G. “Jay” Link is the president of Stewardship Ministries, a teaching, training, mentoring and content ministry working with churches and nonprofit leaders to equip them with the biblical knowledge and training resources needed to serve all ages and all economic levels of believers to effectively live as good and faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to them. He is the author of three books, Spiritual Thoughts on Material Things: Thirty Days of Food for Thought; To Whom Much Is Given: Navigating the Ten Life Dilemmas Affluent Christians Face; and Family Wealth Counseling: Getting to the Heart of the Matter.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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