Effective Stewardship

Putting First Things First

Ken Williams

In his interesting volume, Money, Material Possessions and Eternity, Randy Alcorn writes,

Were I the Bible’s editor, I would cut out much of what it says about money and possessions. Anyone can see it devotes a disproportionate amount of space to a subject of secondary importance. . . .

As it stands, these large portions of Scripture have little appeal to sophisticated people (such as us) in an advanced culture (such as ours). In fact, if the Bible were written today and . . . judged by what it says about money and possessions, it would never get into print. . . .

After all, we come to the Bible for comfort — not for a lecture on finances   . . . .

How could the Bible’s Author and Editor justify devoting twice as many verses to money than to faith and prayer combined? And how could Jesus say more about money than both heaven and hell? Didn’t He know what was really important?

The rhetorical answer to Alcorn’s last question is, “Of course, Christ did.” And here’s the reason: There is a direct relationship between a person’s commitment to following Jesus Christ and his or her attitude and actions concerning money, material possessions and giving. Or as Al­corn put it, “If Christ is not Lord over a person’s money and possessions, then He is simply not that person’s Lord.”

That’s why the “Effective Stewardship” program has as its underlying theme the fact that God owns everything and that we are managers and stewards who are responsible to manage God’s resources.

Think about it: God didn’t choose Fidelity, Vanguard, T. Rowe Price or some other sophisticated financial firm to manage His money. He chose ordinary people like you and like me. And to make sure we are “putting first things first,” God has provided a tremendous amount of personal instruction for us in the Scriptures.

As we plant the seed of the Scriptures through both the written and verbal presentations in the “Effective Stewardship” program, what we are trying to do is to keep before people God’s ownership of all things and our responsibility and accountability for managing God’s resources. At the same time, we want people to experience the liberating freedom of giving, not out of guilt, obligation or “because God said so,” but out of willing hearts, hearts of love that respond freely to God’s grace and love for us.

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