About two years ago the Barna Group released a research study that concluded only about four percent of Americans tithe. To know that only such a small percentage of believers tithe not only disappoints my heart, but also greatly concerns me.
Our Lord provides us with financial resources so that we may better serve and glorify Him. Stewardship is all about our heart. If we truly love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, we will desire to be faithful with the financial and material assets He entrusts to us.
In Matthew 6:21, Jesus tells His followers that where their treasure is, their heart will be also. If we are consumed with the earthly, temporal things of this world – such as money and possessions – then our hearts will be more focused on temporarily fulfilling our own desires than on fulfilling the Great Commission. I pray that we will live with an attitude of thankfulness unto God for every good gift in our lives, giving cheerfully unto Him, and seeking to use every gift for His glory.
As important as stewardship is from a financial aspect, stewardship goes beyond financial giving. Stewardship should be a way of life for believers in Jesus Christ.
We must be good stewards of our time. We must spend time in prayer and in God’s Word every day. Our time should be invested in discipling and serving others – all for God’s glory and purposes.
I also want to remind you and encourage you that as a believer in Jesus Christ you have been made a steward of the greatest gift of all – the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:1 tells us that we are “stewards of the mysteries of God,” or of the gospel. In Ephesians 3:2 and Colossians 1:25, Paul writes that he has been given the stewardship of God’s grace.
We also know from 2 Corinthians 5 that we are stewards of reconciliation, and we are called to be ambassadors for Christ who live in such a way that the love of Christ is clearly on display. What a tremendous privilege we have to be called ambassadors for Christ! God has entrusted us with the message of salvation – the hope of the gospel – and we must share this message with those who have yet to hear.
As you are aware, we recently announced a new five-year strategy for our Convention that is focused on impacting lostness through disciple-making. I believe that this strategy will help us become better stewards as we refocus our attention on evangelizing the lost in our state, nation and world.
I pray that we would live as stewards of the gospel who desire to store up treasures in heaven and to advance God’s eternal Kingdom. From finances to time to talents, everything we have has been given to us by God so that we can join Him in His work of transforming lives with the gospel.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Ephesians 4:1