I write a monthly newsletter that focuses on advancement for our school. Over the next few months, I will include a series of “articles” on stewardship. Stewardship is a difficult subject within the church, but I have found that The LCMS Foundation has many great resources on the subject. If you get a chance and if you are in any type of development position for your Lutheran school/ministry, I suggest taking their courses on development.
What is our ideal vision of Stewardship?
Stewardship is a term that is often used but often misunderstood. As a child, I like the word because I thought the name “Stewart” was a great name. Of course, that is NO understanding of stewardship! What is concerning is that there are many of us that seem to show a similar (lack of) understanding concerning what it means to be a steward.
And maybe that is the term we need to focus on: “steward.” Perhaps adding the suffix “-ship” clouds our understanding a bit. A steward is one who manages and takes care of another’s property. So far so good. In fact, I think we also rightly point to Genesis 1:26-28 and Genesis 2:15 as passages which show us stewardship in action. (It is also interesting to note that in the perfect society, prior to sin, God gave Adam and Eve “work” to do! There is a lot that can be said about the GIFT of work and contrasting that with the CURSE of Genesis 3:17-19. Certainly, one could write volumes about vocation based upon that contrast alone!)
But it is interesting that just as mankind irreversibly fell into sin in Genesis chapter three, so too our understanding of stewardship falls apart almost immediately after it is well-defined.
So… how can we look at stewardship in an open, non-threatening way that does not come from pre-conceived assumptions? To do so, we need to go back to the Word… and I’ll start digging into that next time.