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Biblical Stewardship

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Samuel Smith
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LESSON 1

BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP

You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible study programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.

In this edition, we continue with our series on Biblical Stewardship. The topic for this study is the same as the topic for the entire series: Biblical Stewardship. Many in Christendom have come to view stewardship only in terms of the return of tithes and the giving of various offerings. However, biblical stewardship is broader than that. It encompasses many facets than we usually comprehend. In this study, we are going to consider the broad picture of stewardship that the Bible expects God's children to obtain. The lesson is thus divided into five sub-sections as follows:

1) BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP RECOGNISES GOD AS CREATOR

All through Scripture, one of the leading themes is that God is Creator. The opening chapter of the Bible provides significant details about how God created the world and everything in it (see Genesis 1). The Bible portrays the Creator God as the rightful owner of all things. We are told that all things were made by Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16). This includes all life, abilities, time and resources. Moreover, God did not just create the world; He is the One who sustains the world and everything in it (Nehemiah 9:6). Mankind is only a steward of God's creation (see Genesis 1:26-28). He actually does not possess anything himself. Everything he has including his own life has been entrusted unto his care by the Omnipotent Creator for which an account will be required from him at the end of the age. In relation to the role of man as steward, Christ told the following parable: "14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them" (Matthew 25:14-15, 19).

2) BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP RECOGNISES GOD AS GIVER

Biblical stewardship recognises God not just as Creator but also the Giver of all good gifts. After God had created our world, He entrusted everything into the hands of mankind (review Genesis 1:26-28). The Lord gave to mankind the beautiful home of Eden (Genesis 2:8). He gave unto mankind sweet and delicious food of diverse fruits, grains and nuts (Genesis 1:29). He gave unto mankind the beautiful relationship of marriage (Genesis 2:18, 21-24). Even though mankind sinned against the express command of his Maker (see Genesis 3:1-6), God continued to give so the broken relationship between Himself and mankind could be restored. From the pen of the beloved apostle, we read the following eternal words: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Beloved, God through Christ continues to give good gifts unto the human family today; for the Scripture expressly states that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

3) BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP RECOGNISES GOD AS REDEEMER

When mankind sinned against the express command of God, the Lord allowed His only begotten Son to take upon Himself the nature of man so He could redeem mankind back unto Himself. From the book of Philippians, we read the following in relation to Christ's sacrifice for mankind: "2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

(Philippians 2:6-8; see also 1 Peter 1:18-20)
Beloved, the Scripture makes it clear that the Creator God condescended to become a man so He could redeem us from the wretchedness of sin. Paul captures the theme of our redemption in the following clear words: "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). Friends, biblical stewardship thus recognises God not just as Creator, but also Redeemer. This understanding that the Creator God also became our Redeemer is a biblical stewardship foundation that melts the hardened heart to respond to the loving kindness of God.

4) BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP RECOGNISES GOD AS PARTNER

Even though God is the Creator and Owner of all things, He actually operates with mankind as if with a partner. When God created mankind, He put him in charge of everything He had made. From the book of Genesis, we read the following: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Moreover, when God placed mankind in the Garden of Eden, He required of him to dress and keep the garden (Genesis 2:15). Throughout the various generations, God had required that mankind will do something in his role as steward of the manifold blessings He has entrusted unto His care. The biblical concept of God partnering with man can be clearly seen in the divine institution of the return of tithes and the giving of various offerings in support of the cause of the gospel. By utilising this approach of partnership, the Lord helps His children to develop trust in Him. This trust serves as the foundation of a loving relationship that the Lord seeks to develop with all His children.

5) BIBLICAL STEWARDSHIP RESTS ON THE FOUNDATION OF GOD'S BLESSINGS

Right from the beginning, the Bible portrays God pronouncing blessings upon the human family. From the book of Genesis, we read that "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28). From this text, we learn that God's blessing precedes human stewardship responsibility. It is interesting to learn that this wonderful truth runs throughout Scripture (see Genesis 12:1-3; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 1:3-4; James 1:17). Thus friends, biblical stewardship is basically a love response from the human heart towards God. It is not doing something out of obligation or compulsion, but rather having an attitude that says; "All of me in response to all of God". It is actually trying to reciprocate the infinite degree of blessings that God has bestowed upon the human family.

Exhortation: Biblical stewardship recognises God as Creator, Giver, Redeemer, Partner and many other beautiful roles. In each of these roles, the blessings of God upon the human family are clearly exhibited. When we come to understand Biblical Stewardship in this context, the following message from the apostle Paul to the Colossian Church becomes a reality in our own lives: "23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23-24).

In our next study, we will consider the topic: The Theology of Tithes. The Bible Study references for this study are Genesis 1, Revelation 4:21, Psalm 24:1, Genesis 14:18-20, Genesis 28:20-22, Numbers 18, Malachi 3:8-10, Matthew 23:23, Deuteronomy 14:22, Leviticus 27:30 and Deuteronomy 12:9-14. Please do well to go through these passages before the next study is released.

Stay blessed and keep shining for King Jesus.

Maranatha!

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