Stewardship is the intentional, responsible, systematic and proportionate giving of time, abilities, and possessions based on the conviction that these things are a trust from God, to be used for the benefit of humankind in grateful acknowledgement of Christ’s redeeming love (National Council of Churches).
F I N A N C I A L S T E W A R D S H I P
How do we determine how much is enough? What is a responsible gift for each of us to give? In twenty-five years of active work in teaching stewardship, I have read at least fifty books on the subject and have met several stewardship mentors, but none of these have given me a definite answer. But, this reading and interaction with mentors has convinced me of the truth in the scriptures: “For all things come of you and of your own have we given you” (1 Chronicles 29:14); and, “Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is God who gives you power to get wealth, so that God may confirm the covenant sworn to your ancestors, as God is doing today”(Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
Keep these and other verses in your mind as you pray and plan your gifts. I can only say that determining the responsible amount involves where you in your journey of life:
- Your income and assets in relationship to your current needs for living.
- Your relationship with God and the church.
- Your special needs for the future: children’s college, replacement of home or car, retirement, etc.
- Your relationship with and understanding of the needs of the communities who will receive your gifts.
- Your desires for those things you don’t need for living but bring you happiness and comfort.
Carefully consider the juxtaposition of all of these things. Actually calculate the proportion or percentage of your income or assets your intentional gifts are, and decide how much is enough to give back to God.