One of the common distinctives of Christian Stewardship is the principle that God owns everything. While you would be hard-pressed to find anyone among professing Christian Stewards who would disagree, it has been my observation that in the real world of day to day living – this principle isn’t quite as clear or strong.
There are three points I want to make. These do not come from me, but from three who have added to my understanding of Stewardship – Ownership & Giving.
1. A Christian Steward ‘roots’ from their heart all sense of possessing.
“The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing… Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”. –Rev. A.W. Tozer In Pursuit of God. From Chapter 2, “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing.”
2. A Christian Steward is simply a channel through whom flows the gifts of God.
“To the extent that we are channels of these ‘gifts’ (from God), we can’t just do with them as we please. They come to us with an ultimate name and address other than our own…. If I block the flow of God’s gifts, I haven’t just failed the giving of God; I’ve failed the intended recipients.” ~ Dr. Miraslov Volf Free of Charge: Giving & Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.
3. A Christian Steward is more than a trustee or servant, they are a joint heir – the obedient child of the Father.
“If God is God, then man can actually never own anything…. The creator God is also our Father. There are two Stewardship implications of this truth. (1) In the light of God’s fatherhood, the relation to God upon which stewardship rests is far more than trusteeship or vocational service. We are sons and heirs, not merely trustees and servants.
Ownership is not the relationship between master and slave. It is the deeper personal relation whereby a father calls his children his own. (2) Our giving is patterned after God Himself. ‘God so loved the world that he gave’. To give and keep on giving is the essential nature of God who is love. Christian giving can therefore never be an occasional performance or a special ceremony. It is the normal, steady, and increasing outflow of life in God.” ~ T.A. Kantonen A Theology of Christian Stewardship – Chapter 3
Everything comes from God – and God alone. To merely make a logical choice to ‘think and act differently’ will not change anything. The change can only come as I daily die, and place Him on the throne of my heart…as I surrender ownership.
“Lord, today I affirm anew that all I have and am comes from you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me the way. Forgive me for thinking that I own anything, and let all of the time, talents and treasures that come from you flow to others as I act in obedience to your will”.
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