I heard about a little girl who experienced a major breakthrough in her life when she learned to tie her own shoes. Instead of excitement, she was overcome by tears.
Her father asked, "Why are you crying?"
"I have to tie my shoes," she said.
"You just learned how. It isn't that hard, is it?"
"I know," she wailed, "but I'm going to have to do it for the rest of my life."
My hunch is that some of us feel the same way when it comes to Christian stewardship. We learn that it's exciting to give. But isn't there just a tiny bit of dread because we know we have to do it over and over again for the rest of our lives?
As I thought about preaching on stewardship, it occurred to me that maybe we should just skip the stewardship thing for a year. It's been a tough year: there's this major recession, people have been laid off, banks are failing, homeless people are walking the streets, the dollar has hit new lows, and the national debt has hit new highs. Why don't we just skip it this year? You're all nodding!
You know why we don't skip it? Stewardship is not an annual fundraising campaign. It is a lifestyle to which God has called us. I don't want anybody here to burst into tears because of this news, but stewardship is never over. Every Sunday is really Stewardship Sunday.
We have to define our terms a bit here. It's not just about giving money. Christian stewardship is really nothing less than all we do with all that we have. That includes money, a subject about which the Bible has a lot to say. Someone has taken the time to calculate that the Bible has about 500 verses on prayer, about 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions.
Jesus talked a lot about money. Of his 38 parables, almost half tell ...
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Heidi Husted Armstrong is an ordained Presbyterian pastor who has ministered in West Coast churches for more than two decades. She also serves as an editorial advisor for Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership. Heidi and her husband, Rick, live in Tacoma, Washington.