Monday, April 12, 2010

Stewardship Expanded

I'm about to head over to church for a stewardship team meeting. I was asked to participate a while ago, and have attended meetings for the last three months, and each time I learn something new about my church and myself.

We meet once a month, and between meetings we have been reading chapters from the book "Firstfruits: a stewardship guide for church leaders" by Robert Heerspink. Each chapter takes on a different aspect of stewardship as it applies to the resources of the church in general, and how those aspects each apply to the management and guidance given by church leaders. In this week's readings, the two sides of wealth were discussed in a way that resonated with me.

Anyone who has read the Bible thoughtfully can see that there are two opposing views on wealth. The first view is that wealth is a gift from God. When a passage says that someone was blessed by God and acquired great riches, this message is clear. The other side of wealth is the dangerous precipice those with great riches find themselves on, trusting too much in their money and not enough in God.

To align their lives with the Bible, some take the position that all wealth they acquire is by default a blessing from God, and they are free to use it as they please. Others decide to shun wealth altogether and live as frugally as possible. In my understanding, and I seem to be in agreement with Heerspink, both of these views neglect large portions of the ideal perspective on wealth and money.

Enjoying money is never proclaimed to be a bad thing in the Bible, but the love of money is said to be the foundation of all evil.

All of these issues are things that I am currently encountering in my life. Questions like, "Should I go to grad school, even though I will be spending a lot of money I don't currently have?" or "Is my goal in becoming an engineer to better myself financially?" can be difficult to answer, but the key is to take a step back and realize that the questions really shouldn't be money-centric, but God-centric. I need to alter my perspective to ask, "Taking into account my financial situation, is grad school a responsible investment that a good steward would make?" or "How can I use my engineering education and my possible wealth to further God's kingdom?"

Shifting perspectives can be hard, and it takes a lot of practice, but in questions of stewardship where there are many possible "correct" answers, it is invaluable.

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