Mention “stewardship” in a church and many people think only of money, and money means tithing, and tithing means 10%, and that means giving 10% of your gross income to the church. Frightening, right? Fortunately, this is not necessarily the case.
The root of the word “stewardship” is “steward” -- a person who manages someone else’s money or property. The key words here are “someone else’s”. That someone else in a Christian context is the Lord. Everything we have is His, given to us on loan, and he expects us to return a portion of it to further His kingdom. We say “return” because we cannot “give” Him what is already His.
Stewardship is not only money. Stewardship is returning to the Lord a portion of our time, talent, and treasure, which, by the way, is something that all of us pledged to do when we joined this church, or any church. He gives us a lifetime of time and expects us to return a portion of it serving the world's needs. He gives us talent to sing, teach, preach, evangelize, help the needy, and He expects us to serve his kingdom on earth using these God-given talents. And, yes, He gives us the treasure we need to care for ourselves, and He expects us to return a portion of that. Those who think that their money is theirs because they worked for it and earned it should think again.
Have you ever wondered why those who are good stewards of the Lord's abundance seem to have a strong spiritual life? Or... is it the other way around? Good stewardship deepens our spiritual life. It is a vital ingredient in our relationship with the Lord. Also, have you noticed that those who have a great relationship with God are not always in a great financial position? There is little correlation between our wealth and our spiritual life. There is, however, a strong correlation between our stewardship of that wealth and our spiritual life.
So the next time someone mentions stewardship, don't think only of money, or that you are asked to give 10% of your income to the church. Stewardship means much more than that.