In this episode, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about stewardship, which constitutes the twenty-first fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists.
We often hear this verse: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Yet, in today’s world, so much is focused on what one gets. Nevertheless, the saying is true. It directs our attention to something bigger than ourselves and encourages us to look to the Giver of all good things.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stewardship as “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
When we think about stewardship, we realize that all that we have—time, money, abilities, health, and life—come from God. And He asks us to be careful stewards of these gifts.
Our twenty-first fundamental belief explains: "We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow human beings, and by returning tithe and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. Stewards rejoice in the blessings that come to others as a result of their faithfulness."
When we give all that we have to God, He accepts it and puts us back in charge of it as stewards or caretakers. Accepting this stewardship responsibility breaks the tendency of selfishness and reminds us of the example He has given us.
Now, these are four areas in which God has entrusted us to be good stewards:
By developing our physical and mental powers to the best of our ability and opportunities, we bring honor to God and become a blessing to others.
God has given each of us special abilities. Whatever they are, they can be used to benefit other people and glorify God.
As faithful stewards, we glorify God by using our time wisely. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
We are also admonished to not behave “as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15, 16).
4. Material possessions
Our material possessions and financial resources are gifts from God.
To help us remember this, God instituted a system of tithes and offerings wherein we are to return 10% of all our increase and give faithful offerings to Him.
As this system provided the financial means for supporting the priesthood of the Israelite temple, it finances today’s worldwide outreach of the gospel.
We can never outgive the Lord. He has placed us in the role of stewards for our benefit. One reason He asks us to consecrate our lives to Him is to help us grow spiritually and develop our character.
As we are kept aware of God’s ownership of everything and the love He bestows on us, our love and gratitude are nurtured. Faithful stewardship is a safeguard against covetousness and selfishness. It leads to the development of economy and efficiency.
True stewards bless others as they are involved in serving others and are willing to share what God has graciously given to them.
Through stewardship of time, talents, and resources, we become a blessing to the church, resulting in a strong church body ready to respond to the needs of God’s cause. With this, the church will have adequate funds to support the ministry and expand His kingdom.
In closing, let us be reminded to “give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
To learn more about our twenty-first fundamental belief, the principle of stewardship, visit www.adventist.org/stewardship.