The Scriptures teach “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1 ESV). This principle is repeated in I Corinthians 10:26 where we find the words, “The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof” (ESV). The doctrine that God is the creator and owner of all things has significant ramifications to our perspective on life. His ownership includes such tangible assets as our land, food, means of transportation, and all the individuals God puts into our lives. Not to be excluded are our own time, talents, opportunities, and relationships. He is the owner of all.
God has entrusted to each of us, his children, the responsibility to take care of what he has given us. A passage of Scripture that cannot be ignored is Matthew 25:14–30, known as the parable of the talents. The focus of this parable is that as followers of Christ, we are to be wise in how we develop and use what he has delegated to us. The resources over which we are given responsibility vary from person to person, but the instruction for all of us is to be faithful managers of that which he has entrusted to us. He is the benefactor. We are to follow the principles he has laid out as to how his resources are used.
One of the instructions the Scriptures emphasize is the importance of giving of our material goods to the work of the Lord. Scriptures that support this mandate include:
- Leviticus 27:30—“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of the trees [income], is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD.”
- Proverbs 3:9— “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of your produce [income]; then your barns will be bursting with wine.”
- Malachi 3:10—“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
- Matthew 23:23b—“For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Stewardship is therefore the recognition that the Lord owns all things and has entrusted to us the responsibility of taking care of those resources he has placed in our care. This includes our need to follow the specific instructions he provides about how he would like his resources managed.
Content is derived in part from chapter nine of Bryce Bartruff’s book, God, Your Money and You (CrossLink Publishing).