Elmer Towns and John Maxwell
At her death on March 30, 1975, most people assumed Bertha Adams was poor. An autopsy revealed she had severe malnutrition and evidences of poverty were abundant in her disheveled apartment. Lack of heat, lack of food, lack of the basic necessities of life – there could only be one conclusion. Bertha Adams was an obvious example of one who was missed by the national safety net of social spending.
But then, while taking inventory of her personal effects, authorities found two keys. Trusting a hunch, they took the keys to a neighborhood bank and found her safety deposit box stuffed with $799,000 in cash. Also, crammed into that box were hundreds of valuable and negotiable stock certificates, bonds and other securities.
Bertha Adams had a stewardship problem.
She viewed possessions as something to be hoarded. She did not understand that the blessings of life were given to her to be used and invested rather than to keep. Bertha Adams did not understand that the purpose of life was to manage her resources, not selfishly to hold on to them.
God has given us things in this life not to hoard, but to manage for His glory.
One of the titles of the Christian in the New Testament is the term “steward.” The Greek word oikonomos (steward) is a compound word derived from the term for house (oikos) and the verb to arrange (nemo). The word oikonomos was a servant designated as the manager of a household, estate or other affairs of his master.
Each Christian is a steward of all the resources God has given us, including time, talent and treasure.
A good steward manages his or her time, talent and treasure for the glory of God.
But like Bertha Adams, there are many Christians who have misunderstood stewardship and are poor managers of the resources of God under our control.
If we are confused and frustrated in our stewardship of financial resources, it may be because we see them primarily as permanent personal assets that someone—the tax collector, the bill collector, the greedy, or even those who solicit donations for worthy causes—is trying to take away from us.
Stewardship is the management of God’s resources.