Money is one of the most difficult topics to discuss in the church. Why is that? After all, money is universal to everyone. Seriously… everyone on the planet uses some form of exchange system to buy and sell. Yet for some reason, we get really uncomfortable. Perhaps it has to do with ownership. We all feel inclined to believe that our money belongs to us alone. We get to decide what to do with it. And to some extent, that is true. God cares deeply about ownership. In fact, many of the laws He gave Israel in the Old Testament placed an emphasis on rightful ownership. But in other ways, we need to remember where our true treasure lies. The things of this world are just things, and in the end, it all belongs to the Creator. As Christians, we are called to stewardship rather than ownership.
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The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. – Psalm 24:1
- Who is the owner of all things? I think we all know the answer to this one. God created the whole world and everything in it. It all belongs to Him. The Bible calls us “stewards.” Interestingly enough, our stewardship is rarely mentioned in terms of money; but rather we are stewards of all that God has given us… including the earth. Think of it this way. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, and they were put in charge. It was Adam who named every animal on earth. Fast forward to the New Testament where Jesus gives us the parable of the talents. Each person was given talents (money) to manage while the owner was away. And they were held responsible for what they did with those talents. (Matthew 25:14-30) Our families, our homes, our gifts and abilities, and our finances… they all belong to God and we are called to manage them wisely.
- What is our role as Christians? Stewardship is a high calling. In essence, God created the world and made us its managers. That’s a big job title! Jesus also put us in charge of His Kingdom. We are called to spread the Gospel and expand the Kingdom far and wide! When it comes to stewardship in our finances, we often struggle with the idea that we don’t “own” what we have rightfully earned. But as we can clearly see in every other aspect of stewardship, it’s a high calling that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We are entrusted with all that God has given us.
- How should this affect our spending habits? Our giving? If someone asked you to take over their finances for a month, how would you view that money? If it were me, I’m fairly certain I would put a significant amount of thought into how their money was being spent. I would be smarter and wiser because I was being trusted to do well. I would also have no trouble doing what was best with those finances, even if it was hard. Why? Because it’s not my money. If the person who trusted me with it asked me to give some of it away, I would do so with no hesitation because the money truly belonged to them. That’s how it is with our finances… Our finances belong to God.
When we remember that we are stewards first, it takes the pressure off of us. I can trust that the Owner of my finances knows what’s best. (And He does because He knows all things – right?) Stewardship also requires us to work smarter and harder. We aren’t frivolous with something that doesn’t belong to us in the first place. We budget, and we plan for the future.
Stewardship brings financial peace because it takes the responsibility off of us and gives it to the true Owner of all things.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.