For this reason, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. — Ephesians 3:1-3
There is that word: stewardship. It is a word that so many Christian people balk at. In fact, it isn’t really a joke that when the word “stewardship” is mentioned in church, men guard their wallets and women clutch their purses. The church has earned this response. Over the generations, the church has allowed the word stewardship to become equated with the financial resources necessary to compensate staff and pay bills.
So, as we consider simple gifts, does it surprise you that Paul would willingly talk about stewardship with the people of Ephesus? Notice what he isn’t talking about: money. What Paul is talking about is REAL stewardship, which deals with stewardship of God’s grace. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The greatest gift that our Lord has given us to steward is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Truthfully, it is the only gift we are given to steward. How you are led by God to steward the resources entrusted to you by God are to be stewarded for the sake of the Gospel. How you use your stuff tells a great deal about what you think of the Gospel. If your stuff is used to help your family, friends, congregation, and community to better understand the Gospel, you are a faithful steward. If it is about you and your comforts, or even their comforts, that isn’t faithful stewardship.
This perspective is helpful. It also causes us some grief. None of us are always faithful in our stewardship for the sake of the Gospel. What Paul calls us to in these words is repentance. Today we ask the Lord to work in and through our stewardship so that the people around us will know about our stewardship of the Gospel as individuals and as a congregation.
©2019 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Used with permission.