On May 2, Pastor Christian Straeuli and his wife, Kristin, (Greytown) visited our Pretoria congregation to talk about Christian Stewardship.
As the Stewardship Coordinators for the FELSISA, they are visiting the church councils and congregations to introduce, remind, and discuss what it means to be God’s stewards. In their presentations after both Divine Services, they focused on this definition of Christian stewardship, and unpacked it with eight Biblical Stewardship Principles:
“Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes.”
- God’s stewards are God’s stewards. God’s stewards are stewards by virtue of creation and re-creation in Holy Baptism; therefore, they belong to the Lord.
- God’s stewards are managers, not owners. God’s stewards have been entrusted with life and life’s resources and given the privilege of responsibly and joyfully managing them for Him.
- God’s stewards are saints and sinners. God’s stewards rejoice in and live out what the Lord has declared them to be through the cross. At the same time, His stewards recognize they are sinners who fight sin and its consequences each day.
- God’s stewards are uniquely singular, yet profoundly plural. God’s stewards recognize that their lives are not solo performances but are personal responses to God, lived out within the community of faith to benefit the whole world.
- God’s stewards are in the world but not of the world. God’s stewards recognize that the Lord sets them apart from the world and by the transforming power of the Gospel sends them into the world to live out the Gospel.
- God’s stewards are loved and loving. God’s stewards recognize that their stewardship flows out of God’s act of love for them in Christ which empowers them, in turn, to love others in acts of Christ-like love.
- God’s stewards are served and serving. God’s stewards recognize that their stewardship involves a Gospel-powered style of life which is demonstrated in servanthood within all the arenas of life.
- God’s stewards live with an awareness of the present and future, of time and eternity. God’s stewards live intentionally in the light of the Lord’s eternal purpose while being firmly committed to His rule in the here and now.
Pastor and Kristin used the analogy of a car, which represents all of our daily bread, every gift that we have received from God. If we don’t know how to operate the car, it becomes more of a burden and hinders us from getting from Point A to Point B, rather than helping. We often look at others and think they have it figured out, but in reality, they have sacrificed some of these gifts (their family, church life, friendships, etc.) and might be moving along, but with only half of the intended benefits of the car. Christian and Kristin stressed that we must look at the Owner’s Manual to understand how the car (all of our gifts) is best used. As Christian stewards, our Owner’s Manual is the Bible, since God is the Creator and Owner of all, and thankfully He has told us exactly what He intends!
They also provided some examples of the many areas and gifts we are called to manage: life, the Divine Service, time, the Earth, the Gospel…the list could go on and on! Ultimately, we are given these as blessings for our joy and to use for our neighbours’ good so they may also know the Gospel. We are privileged to do this in the many vocations we have, as baptised children of God, mothers, fathers, children, students, workers, etc. Thanks be to God for all of His gifts to us!