What is Financial Stewardship?
Financial Steward is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources; the management and care of resources for which one has no ownership.
And it is in those last nine words that embody the concept of “financial stewardship.”
It is a concept that the Lord has been dealing with me about. Stewardship says that God owns everything, and I am to be a good steward over what He entrusts me with.
“It seems that as humans, we either live with idols and find fulfillment in them and are lost or, through the power of the Spirit, we find life in Jesus and fight for holiness,” says moneyandthegospel.com. We seem to hold tight to things and it causes us to err and experience unnecessary pain in our lives (a cycle that is repeated from one generation to the next). The concept of financial stewardship teaches us how to hold loosely to things, and live a life of financial peace and freedom.
In my first book, Money With A Mission (I am working on an updated edition), my goal was to create a mindset that would lend itself to money management’s simplicity. But at the end of the day, I wonder just how simple is money management. There seems to be so many who struggle with not managing their money well. Indeed, it is a very personal subject. And most people do not want to be told what to with their money. My purpose here is to explore this concept of financial stewardship because it seems to me that once you “get over” the idea of ownership, stewardship sets you free.
As we learned in the Parable of the Talents, we do have a responsibility to handle our finances in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. And we will be held accountable for the resources that He has given us to steward. Despite what we may believe about the management of our money, God makes it clear that He is the One who empowers us to obtain financial gain:
Mindset: Ownership vs. Stewardship
There is a difference between the ownership mindset and the stewardship mindset. And how each one of these concepts affects your outlook of how you manage your money. What are those differences?
In the world system (and quite frankly, our fallen nature), we seek to own stuff. But do we really own it? The ownership mentality says “I worked hard for this, and it belongs to me.” But that is not how God sees it:
Those are the words of King Nebuchadnezzar whose story is pretty interesting indeed (Daniel 4). The short of it is that he had to bow down to the mighty God and declare: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” (Daniel 4:37)
On the other hand, stewardship says that everything that I have, God gave it to me. I have a responsibility to be a good steward over it. I really like this concept. I feel like it relieves me of the pressure that comes with hoarding stuff (though we don’t think that’s what we’re doing right?). I mean, if God says “give that away,” then apparently it wasn’t mine to begin with. I just thought it was or, wait, I mean that (with a stewardship mentality), I was only using it for a season. I don’t need money or stuff to come between me and my God. So it behooves me to hang on to things loosely because I don’t want to be like the rich young ruler who “went away sorrowfully” because he chose his money and possessions over his salvation.
The scriptures teach us that we cannot serve God and mammon. As I come into a greater understanding of what that means, I realize that the concept of stewardship makes more sense than ownership. Because at the proverbial end of the day, God owns it all…including us.
Grace and Peace to you!
Up next: What is mammon?