Recently, a pastor of one of the churches using the “Effective Stewardship” program told me that he viewed the program as “water on a stone.” By that he meant that he viewed the program not as a remedy for the offering that Sunday, but as something having a more long-term effect.
I found myself intrigued by that analogy. In fact, his phrase, “water on a stone,” brought to mind an older house I had visited recently. This once stately mansion had deteriorated over time and was going to be sold at auction. One of the downspouts had fallen off, and the water from the gutter had been washing against the bricks for many years. Over time, almost all of the mortar in that part of the wall had been eroded away under the onslaught of the water. The mortar that was once hard and secure had been destroyed by that which at first glance would appear incapable of doing so.
And so it is with the effect of the Scriptures. The entire “Effective Stewardship” program is based on the Word of God. Week after week, month after month, and year after year, the Scriptures are given forth through both the printed page and oral presentations. And like the water on that mortar, the Scriptures can have a powerful effect on even the hardest of hearts.
In fact, the “water on a stone” concept is at the core of the “Effective Stewardship” program. You see, our goal is not to bring about a revolution in giving patterns so much as it is to bring about an evolution. We are not seeking to suddenly cause people to give more or to give out of anxiety, guilt or compulsion. Rather, we are seeking to bring about a change in heart attitudes whereby those who experience first-hand the truths of the Scriptures are trained to be stewards so that time, talents and treasure are viewed in their proper perspective of God’s ownership.
And we are doing this through the biblical pattern of instruction as described in Isaiah 28:10 – “ . . . line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.” Sort of sounds like the effect of “water on a stone,” doesn’t it?
Frankly, that’s why the program was designed to last 48 months. Our goal is not to bring about a “quick fix” to a church’s financial situation. Rather, our goal is to utilize the cleansing power of the Word of God as “water on a stone” to train people to be stewards.