On Sunday, Pastor Rob Wilton shared that as a church we were jumping into a preaching series on money called “Money Talks.” Two really important resources for this series come from author and theologian, Randy Alcorn. The primary resource that Vintage will be utilizing throughout “Money Talks” that you can also find at our Resource Center is The Treasure Principle. Vintage’s Community Groups will also be taking a twelve week journey through The Treasure Principle Bible Study. These are incredible resources that I would strongly encourage you to check out. No doubt, the topic of money is a polarizing topic. I’m sure that when Pastor Rob announced that Vintage will be walking through a series on money there were countless internal reactions to his announcement. While many are not interested in talking about money in the church, there are also those who know they need to talk about it and therefore are very interested in “Money Talks.” Here is the reality: money is a major topic in Scripture. However, “Money Talks” is about more than money. It’s about stewardship, a concept the permeates all of Scripture. If stewardship is such an important topic, what is it and what does the Bible say about it?
What Is Stewardship?
Stewardship is a term that is thrown around throughout the Christian subculture. We talk about being good stewards of our money, time, possessions, and anything else we have. Still, what does it mean to be a steward. One author defines stewardship as the “administration of duties or goods in one’s care.”1 In Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Randy Alcorn defines a steward as “someone entrusted with another’s wealth or property and charged with the responsibility of managing it in the owner’s best interest.”2 Therefore when we think about stewardship, a good word to use is “manager.” A steward is someone who manages anything given to them that belongs to someone else. Keep these definitions in mind as we look to see what the Bible says about stewardship.
What Does the Bible Say About Stewardship?
As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is chalked full of references to stewardship. Two references in particular stick out in my mind. The first reference comes at the very beginning of the Bible. After God has created everything, he creates Adam and Eve and places them in the garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:15, the text says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” From the very beginning, God creates humanity in His image and tasks all of humanity to steward creation. While there is much debate in theological circles as to what it means to be “created in the image of God,” we do know that being created in the image of God has implications for how we live. Being created in the image of God means God has created us with purpose and authority given by Him. This authority and purpose works itself out in our lives in how we use and manage everything that has been created and given by God. Therefore what Genesis 1-2 teaches us is that God owns all of creation and that he has created us to steward his creation.
Jesus also talked about stewardship. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells a parable of three servants who were given different amounts of money. Two of the servants were good stewards of the owner’s property. They invested the owner’s resources and made the owner more money. One servant was afraid of the owner and went and buried the money. When the owner came, all the servant had to give was what was given to him originally. At the conclusion of the parable, Jesus says, “to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). Without doubt, Jesus is talking about more than just money in this passage. He is talking about the gospel and the kingdom of God. Still, the principle remains: whatever you have is not yours; it is God’s. Alcorn asserts this when he writes, “what is stewardship except that God has entrusted to us life, time, talents, money, possessions, family, and his grace?”3
As we begin “Money Talks” this Sunday, I pray that you will see this series as more than just about money. At the simplest level, it is about money; at the most significant level, it is about all of life and creation. What is holding you back from stewarding well your money, and, more importantly, your life?
1F. L. Fisher, “Stewardship,” in The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 1149.
2Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Rev. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2003), 140.