Skip to main content

At one point in my life, my family was very sure that if there was an award for “Most Thrifty Man on the Planet,” I was a prime contender for such an award.


In fact, my daughter still bears the scars of the childhood trauma of having been forced to order exclusively off the dollar menu at a certain fast-food restaurant.


So, when I sit down to write a blog about “stewardship,” rest assured that I know what it is to be the poster-child for pinching a penny so tightly that old Honest Abe squeals in pain.


And now that I am old enough to get the Senior Discount anywhere I go, (mostly without having to ask for it) I’ve come to the point where it seems to me that we in Christendom kind of struggle with the concept of stewardship. 


On the one hand, there are Christians who believe the word “stewardship” means being so incredibly cheap –no, the correct word is “stingy”– that to spend any money in the service of God we must spend the absolute minimum possible in the given situation and that whomever we buy it from is selling it to us at the maximum possible discount to the point that the vendor of said items (and his or her family) should happily be living under flat rocks and eating bugs for a suitable period of time to show his or her dedication to the LORD God Almighty.


And, make no mistake, people see our stinginess for what it is. It’s no secret that the wait staff at most restaurants dreads the Sunday after-church crowd the most because we are the worst tippers they encounter all week long.


On the other side of the scale, we have the Prosperity Gospel preacher living in an ostentatious mansion urging retirees to send in their life savings to fund their private jets.


Both are equally hideous and heretical.


Throughout the Old Testament, God gives instructions for sacrifices and building projects. In every single case, we are to bring the best we have before Him. We are to bring spotless lambs (Leviticus 4:32-35), grain offerings are to be spread with olive oil and sprinkled with salt (Leviticus 2:13), we are to bring the first fruits of our harvest (Leviticus 23:10). We are to spare no expense in our gifts to God. We are to bring Him our best.


When God gives His chosen people instruction on how to build a tabernacle or a temple for Him, what He asks for isn’t just nice, it’s lavish and outstanding beyond belief. There’s literally tons of gold and silver and bronze and lavish furnishings called for. Here’s David speaking as he makes an offering for the temple Solomon will build in 1 Chronicles 29:3-9:


“And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?”

Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave about 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron. They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the house of the Lord under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy.” (NLT)

And, when we get to the New Testament, there are numerous examples: 

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan leaves the injured man at an inn, pays two silver coins for his care, and promises to pay more if need be, whatever the cost. (Luke 10: 30-37) 

In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep unguarded and goes to look for the one lost sheep. (Luke 15:1-7) 

And of course, there’s the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32) The son didn’t deserve or earn a huge party with music, dancing, and a fatted calf. 

Of course, there’s the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Two of the servants invested their master’s money and doubled it. One buried the money in the ground, avoided all risk whatsoever, and returned it safely to his master –but it is that servant who is called “wicked” and “lazy.” The two who took a risk with their master’s money are rewarded.

So, it’s clear that our grace and our mercy is to be lavish, even seemingly excessive and reckless. Everything belongs to God and He lacks for nothing –which is why the disciple who stuck his hand in the money bag and stole from God generates such utter revulsion and contempt in us. 

Ultimately, the greatest act of stewardship ever is what Christ gave for us. He didn’t negotiate a cheaper ransom for our souls. He didn’t ask for a discount on the pain and suffering He paid to purchase our freedom. The cup of suffering He drank from was not on the dollar menu.

God Himself paid the highest cost possible for all of us.

Today’s Praise

1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

Join the discussion One Comment

Leave a Reply