Steve and Leslie were the perfect couple—outgoing, friendly, inviting. My wife and I hadn’t known them very long before they invited us to their house. We were genuinely flattered.
We pulled up to their mansion and saw their luxury cars parked in the driveway. They greeted us at the door with their usual enthusiasm. The dinner was off the charts. As we settled into overstuffed chairs, Leslie served coffee with swirls of cream, and a puffy mousse dessert. It was all just too much. And it was.
As dessert settled, the tone changed. They had started a business and wanted us to join. They suspected we also had a lot of friends who could sign up. Our hearts sank.
We discovered that Steve and Leslie didn’t want something for us; they wanted something from us.
Unfortunately, many of us have been down that road. Too often, however, the proposal we got came from church. The pastor stood up and talked about the idea of biblical stewardship, how it was more blessed to give than receive.
But as with Steve and Leslie, the other shoe dropped. The church wanted to grow—new buildings, new programs, new ministry. Stewardship was about what the church wanted from us, not for us.
Biblical stewardship suffers from a bad reputation. We’ve prostituted the term to accomplish selfish ends at times.
Practicing law for twelve years showed me firsthand the effects of money, power, and greed. Then, over 20 years ago now, I started working for a foundation, The Signatry. I entered a world where I asked people to give money away—what was I thinking?
I endeavored to chart a fresh course, asking one basic question: “What does the Bible truly say are the essentials of stewardship?” My findings boiled down to the five points you will discover in the days ahead.
People are asking how they can use their resources to make a difference in the world—in missions, in churches and beyond. It is my hope these essentials will provide clarity and a compass setting for biblical stewardship.