The “Effective Stewardship” program is based on a simple principle found in Psalm 24:1 — “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” In other words, God owns it all. According to other Scriptures, God owns the “cattle on a thousand hills” and the gold and silver in every mine.
Our role as God’s children is that of managers and stewards. Think about it: God could have chosen Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Vanguard or some other fine investment firm to handle His resources, but He chose you and me. We are handling the resources of the universe for the God of the universe! But in doing so, each of us owns exactly the same amount: Absolutely nothing.
Why is this truth so important? Why is it a point of reference again and again in the “Effective Stewardship” program? Well, on the surface, the answer might be because “God owns it all.” But beyond that bit of redundancy, the truth of God’s ownership is very important because until an individual comes face to face with it and modifies his or her lifestyle accordingly, that person will not be trained as a steward. And he or she will continue to see his or her role as an owner rather than a manager.
What’s the difference? An owner has rights; a steward has responsibilities. An owner holds onto possessions; a steward invests them for another. An owner develops a sense of self-worth based on the things owned; a steward derives a sense of self-worth from the relationship with the real owner. An owner looks to things as the primary source of satisfaction; a steward realizes that God is our Source and that our expectation of all that we need is found in God and God alone.
Those definitions and more — based on God’s ownership and our role as managers and stewards — constitute a major distinction that sets the “Effective Stewardship” program apart from other financial programs. Those definitions and more are why our emphasis is not on next Sunday’s offering as much as it is on the offerings two and three years in the future. And those definitions and more are why the “Effective Stewardship” program is not fund raising per se, but education and training based on the Word of God.