Stewardship: stew·ard·ship [stoo-erd-ship, styoo-]; noun; 1) the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc.; 2).the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving
When I first became a Christian and heard about the term “stewardship,” I believed (as I suspect most of us do) that being a good steward meant saving every possible penny and cutting costs to the bone to maximize the money that God wanted us to use for His ministry.
So I dutifully did that. Fixing up old, obsolete equipment, “McGiver’ing” up ways to do things without having to spend any money. And I patted myself on the back for a job well done.
Boy, was I wrong. In my rush to pinch pennies, I was ripping off God. How egotistical was I that I thought that to do things for God’s pleasure meant cheaping out on the one sacrificial gift God gave me to please Him! And to think I used to brag about how much I didn’t spend! If we really, really mean what we say and what we tell ourselves, then we cannot look at money as the sole object of stewardship.
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
It’s not about the money. Or more precisely, money isn’t the most important facet of the complex face of stewardship. Read that quote again from John Wesley. It exemplifies what proper stewardship is all about.
Proper stewardship means being responsible for overseeing and protecting something considered worth caring for and preserving. The definition of the word that I opened with doesn’t say anything about not spending money or finding the cheapest alternative possible, even if it means replacing that cheapest alternative in a few years because it was, well, cheap.
Proper stewardship means using someone who knows what they are doing and who has the experience to back up that knowledge to balance the needs of the church with the funds of the church. Even if it means telling a church that it would be better to wait to afford the proper equipment.