the baby and the bathwater


Stewardship (2)
October 10, 2009, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The last post on stewardship obviously resonated with many people – both on-line and off-line. Thanks to those who pointed out my error in that stewardship does exists in the King James Version in Luke 16. I stand corrected (and corrected my original post as such). However, this does refer to purposeful theft.

I want to follow up that post with some more thoughts.

First – on Language
Language is so very important, and language changes over time. For example, not so many years ago, the word gay meant ‘bright and happy’, whereas now it almost always refers to sexual orientation. The word stewardship, whilst may have one day meant a lot more, has become pretty much synonymous with finances in recent years – so we have ‘stewardship Sunday’ which tends to be about giving money, or saving money, or cost control, and so on.

This means that when I challenge the use of the word stewardship, it is not me just trying to be clever. It is recognising that, in order to re-establish the core values behind a subject, we either need to reclaim the language that has been lost, or try and use other language. So when I want to stop using the word stewardship and instead talk about my desire to treasure the things that God gives us, I am merely trying to use different language that doesn’t bring with it a whole lot of unhelpful baggage.

Second – on Perspective
The Bible talks a lot about money, and of course it talks a lot about the love of money, and the dangers that brings. It talks about being honest in financial dealings. It talks about the need for contentment in what we have or don’t have, and it talks about the need to trust God for what we need. I am sure you know such passages off by heart.

The Bible also talks about investment in the things of the Kingdom (Matthew 25). Many quote this passage when they talk finances, but for me the issues here are far, far more profound and deep than purely finances. They involve everything that we give ourselves to in the Kingdom.

The Bible talks about us looking after the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4). Again people quote this on finances, but this seems to be about the things of the Kingdom that we have been entrusted with and not being arrogant or boastful because of it.

The Bible also talks about the dangers of being accurate with giving, whilst missing the bigger issues of justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23). WOW. I haven’t really thought about this before. It says that we could be getting money ‘right’ and still be missing out on the real issues!

I don’t know if you know that illustration about the ‘big stones’ and the ‘little stones’. You know, the one where you have this empty jar, and put the little stones in first, and then find that you can’t get the big stones in – whereas if you put the big stones in first, the little stones tend to fit all around them and everything fits in the jar together.

Well I think of it like this: the things of the Kingdom – The Honour of God, the People of God, the Reputation of the Church, The Vision/Mission of God, the Earth we live in. These are the big stones.

Finance is a little stone.  We need to keep our perspective.

Thirdly – on Values
Our family is currently trying to move. And as we consider where we will move to  (incidentally we are staying on the same estate…no big news here!) we are considering what will best make this our home above what will get us a better asset. Of course we need to be fully aware of the financial implications of what we are doing as much as we can. But we value home above asset.

And do you remember the story of David bringing the ark to Jerusalem. He valued the honour of God and obedience to God above financial prudence and personal reputation.

Comments always appreciated.  But please don’t show me any more pictures of iPhones. It will only rub in my current sence of inferiority.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I like the way you break down the complications we have put on things such as stewardship. Keep up the good work, and isn’t it time you gave the message on a Sunday morning for a change?

Comment by Styx of Rock

Martin,

that would mean Bailey would have to lead worship.

is that what you want, what you really really want?

Comment by neilbennetts

Only for all the wrong reasons…

Comment by chrisfox

ha ha….

Comment by neilbennetts




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