Manage Money Wisely: Becoming a Wise Christian Steward

 

Sunday School Lesson for February 29, 2004

 

Selected Passages

 

Introduction

 

In the New Testament we find two primary words for steward:

 

·        The first means something like foreman or manager.

 

·        The second indicates steward or administrator.

 

These terms are employed by the biblical authors to reveal that all believers are to be good stewards or managers of the manifold gifts of God.  That is, the Lord, in His mercy and grace, has entrusted to us many resources that must be used for His glory and the service of His kingdom.

 

Foundational Passage

 

Psalm 24:1

The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

 

 

The Biblical Basis for Christian Stewardship and Faithful Management of Money

 

When God created man in His image, He placed him in the role of steward:

 

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

 

Psalm 8:6-8

Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, {7} All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, {8} The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

 

 

This divinely given role of stewardship means that God has placed upon every person the responsibility of managing and using properly all that God has provided, including the Earth, the animals, and all material possessions.  The ultimate goal of our stewardship is the glory of God.

 

·        We must, in obedience to God, be good managers of the Earth itself.

 

·        We must, in obedience to God, be good managers of the animal life on the earth.

 

·        We must, in obedience to God, be good managers of all material resources and possessions that have been entrusted to us, particularly our money.

 

 

Biblical Guidelines Concerning the Practice of Christian Stewardship

 

First: Stewardship should be faithfully practiced in the light of God’s sovereign ownership of all things.  This means that I should never consider what I possess to be “mine.”  A believer is to conduct his/her life with the knowledge that God is the true “owner” of all things.  Thus, all of our possessions are at His disposal to do with as He pleases.

 

Second: Stewardship should be faithfully practiced in the light of our accountability to God. Note how the concept of accountability for God-given resources, gifts, abilities, and other blessings is displayed in Luke 12:35-48 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

 

Third: From these passages we may draw several conclusions regarding the practice of Christian stewardship:

 

·        We are responsible and accountable to God for the quality of our Christian stewardship and service as well as the use of all things that He has entrusted to us.

 

·        God expects us to be sensible and faithful in the discharging of our obligations and in the use of His resources.

 

·        A good steward expects to be examined, and prepares for it. He looks forward to the return of Christ.

 

·        A good steward treats his Master’s possessions with great care.

 

·        A good steward should expect that his faithful service will reap great benefits not only personally, but more importantly, for the kingdom of God.

 

 

 

 

Dangers to Avoid

 

Perhaps one of the greatest threats to the practice of Christian stewardship—of living all of life with the realization that God owns everything—is the sin of covetousness. The destructive power of this sin is displayed frequently in the Scriptures. Carefully observe the following examples:

 

·        Joshua 7:1-26-  The tragic story of Achan and his family.

 

 

 

·        2 Samuel 11:1-17-  David’s fall into sin.

 

 

 

·        Mark 10:17-22-  The rich young ruler.

 

 

 

·         Acts 4:32-37; 5:1-11-  The judgment of Ananias and Sapphira.

 

 

The sin of covetousness is clearly condemned in Scripture:

 

Exodus 20:17

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

 

Luke 12:15

And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

 

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

 

 

 

Attitudes that Should Characterize the People of God

 

When most people think about wealth, they have in mind something quite distinct from the biblical view. The Scripture presents a spiritual definition of true wealth.  Note how this is expressed in the following passages:

 

Deuteronomy 15:9-10

Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. {10} You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

 

Proverbs 28:22

A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, And does not know that want will come upon him.

 

Matthew 6:22-23

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. {23} But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

 

Christians are called upon to demonstrate a radically different and distinctive attitude toward money, wealth, and true happiness since they live under the authority of Christ:

 

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

 

Summary and Application

 

One: Practicing Christian stewardship communicates what we really believe deep in our hearts:

 

·        That God is the sovereign Owner of all things and the sole object of our ultimate affection and worship…

 

·        That we are responsible and accountable to Him regarding the use of what He has lovingly entrusted to us…

 

·        That He will take care of His children as they trust Him for their “daily bead” (Matt. 6:11). . .

 

Two: A believer cannot be truly happy until he/she is content with what God has provided. In the final analysis, nothing brings ultimate satisfaction to our souls except the knowledge of God through Christ.

 

Three: The blessings of faithful stewardship far outweigh the fleeting pleasures of greed, covetousness, and materialism. In the end, this pathway leads to ruin, loss, and other grievous consequences.

 

Four: To trust God with our money and material possessions is the evidence of real faith. This is one of the ways that the disciple of Jesus Christ is distinguished from the unbelieving world.

 

 

A Special Note to the Readers

 

For the past three years it has been my great joy to provide these Sunday School outlines each week. However, today’s lesson marks the end of my service in this area. For the past four years I have been pursuing a post-graduate degree in theology. With the Lord’s gracious help, I have finally arrived at the dissertation stage of my degree program. Due to the increased demands this brings upon my time and energies, I am unable to continue providing the lesson helps. 

 

It has been an incredible honor and privilege to offer assistance in this way, and I pray that somewhere along the journey you have been encouraged and edified.  I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Stan Reeves who has faithfully and skillfully maintained the Founders Ministry website and has provided continual encouragement to me over these years. I also want to thank each of you who have corresponded with me through e-mail. You have been a rich source of strength and blessings!

 

May our Lord keep you in His providential care and richly bless each of you in His service.

 

Your brother in His rich grace,

 

Mike

 

 

 

We praise the Lord for Mike's tremendous labors over the last three years and thank you, Mike, for your faithful and God-honoring efforts.

We are pleased to say that Dr. Tom Nettles, Founders Ministries board member and Professor of historical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will be continuing the Sunday School helps along with some assistance from some men in his church.

Stan Reeves
Founders Ministries Webmaster