Faithful Stewards are Agents of Hope

Stewardship and the practice of generosity can bring great joy! In fact generosity is life-giving to both the giver and the recipient. However, it also is true that in our world and close at hand in our own neighborhoods, there are people in desperate need. So to simply proclaim God’s abundance and to say that God will provide seems intellectually dishonest. If God’s promise of provision were true, why do so many lack the essential things of life?

That, of course, is where the concept of being a steward takes on its deepest meaning for our time and place. God envisions us (in fact charges us) with being the source of that provision. The world as God imagines it is one of deep and abiding community where each individual is valued and loved by another in the same way that God loves and values us. In the First Testament, laws were established to make certain that no one was without the essentials. Even in the practice of borrowing and lending, a coat could not be held as collateral. It had to be returned to the borrower each night so that the one in debt had protection against the elements. The tithe itself was shared with the community, not only as a celebration, but as a hedge against life-threatening poverty.

We are very aware that the earth provides enough so that every person can have what they need for life. The problem is that we have arrived at a point where less than half the global population owns more than 50 percent of the global resources. This imbalance is growing, and without a sense of mutual accountability and responsibility, its effects could be devastating. The same is true for our natural resources of potable water, clean air, and tillable soil. Stewardship, the faithful and honest management of these things, is really the best hope the world has against the improper exploitation of God’s people and creation. The stakes have never been higher and the urgency never greater. Being a faithful steward matters because you are an agent of hope, and a God-given solution to the crisis.

This stewardship story is from the Live Generously Companion Resource. The Live Generously theme is based on 2 Corinthians 8:9 and 1 Timothy 6:18-19. 

Use the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine volume 19, Theme Materials, and Companion Resource to create a congregational stewardship emphasis using the Live Generously theme.