The word “Stewardship” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For many, it means only “how much money does the church want me to give this year?” That is, of course, partly right. Others know it to also mean “how do I use the talents God has given me to further His kingdom in the world?” This is also partly right. Still others find that word to mean “how do I teach my spirit to offer thanks to God every day for the abundance—how do I discipline myself to say ‘thank you’ for all of God’s care?”
Beginning this Sunday, we will enter into a season of Stewardship. For four, consecutive Sundays we will concentrate on all of those things we mentioned above. Here is our primary goal for this season: All of us—100% of us—committing ourselves to the mission and ministry of our church.
The word “stewardship” comes, originally from Old English. There was such a person known as the “Sty-Ward”. In large households, there would exist a “pig sty”—a holding area or pen for raising pigs. The person responsible for caring for the pig-sty was known as a “sty-ward”. Over the course of time, the sty-ward became the “steward” and the steward’s job was to make certain that everyone in the household had what they needed to live—no more and no less.
Today, most of us are probably familiar with the steward whose role on a passenger ship is to tend to the needs of the guests.
In terms of the biblical “steward”, you might go back to the early church when the original disciples were attempting to organize their followers into a cohesive whole. One of the things they knew HAD to be done was to select people to be certain that the orphans and widows were cared for. So they selected 7 men to act as the first “stewards” of the church—5 of whom you probably never heard of (Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas) and two you HAVE heard of (Stephen and Phillip).
For us, being a good steward means many things. In addition to those I mentioned earlier, there is also an increasingly important need for all Christians to become stewards of our planet. As there are more and more of us occupying the same amount of space, we are now being confronted with realities of increased hunger/starvation, increased deforestation, increased release of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
If you will recall, God gave Adam and Eve the power to name much of creation and then were given “dominion” over it. Some have misused that word to mean that we can do anything we want with creation, but that is never what the Hebrews understood that word to mean. Dominion was meant to care for—in just the same way that parents have “dominion” over their children.
During this month, we will be asking you how you can become a more complete steward. Please do all you can to be with us in worship this month.