Hail flattened all the fields for miles around. But not one hailstone touched my crops. You see, I return a faithful tithe. Whenever I buy a house, the Lord sees that the prices are low. When I sell one, the prices are always high. That's because I tithe faithfully.

I have often heard and marveled at those stories. And while I never deny God's faithfulness in caring for His people, I have wondered why such good things don't always happen to me in spite of my lifelong tithing practice. In reality, I know that stewardship isn't just about spectacular stories of protection or deliverance. It isn't just about how "tithing pays." It isn't even just about money. Stewardship is about life: a faithful life, a life lived under the lordship of Christ

As a teenage youth, I had to struggle for an understanding of God. I found myself questioning the church, the Bible, even the reality of God's existence. I wanted proofs. I wanted feelings. I wanted more than I could find. I don't know when God "found" me. But I recall clearly the day when my search ended, when after reading the Bible, I knew in my mind and heart that God was real and that He was my Friend. Satisfying evidence replaced my demand for absolute proofs. He was real, and I knew Him.

When I follow Him, He stays by my side. When I serve Him as Lord, He is also my unfailing Friend. And that, I believe, is the fruitage of genuine stewardship."


Then I heard Him say, "Follow Me. If you would know Me as your Friend, you must serve me as your Lord." I've sometimes followed from a distance. I've sometimes failed Him. And I've been disappointed when I didn't receive what I hoped for out of life.

When my wife died of cancer, still clinging by faith to God's promises, I faltered. When my son was diagnosed with an incurable illness, I asked hard questions. But even through such wrenching experiences, I knew He was saying, "When you follow Me, I will always walk with you, even through dark valleys. When I am your Lord, I am also your constant Friend."

Certainly He has helped me buy automobiles that lasted longer than usual. He has protected me from accidents and disasters. I found reliable renters for the home I couldn't sell. He blessed me with a beautiful daughter and two loving grandchildren. But the greatest stewardship testimony I can share is this: When I follow Him, He stays by my side. When I serve Him as Lord, He is also my unfailing Friend. And that, I believe, is the fruitage of genuine stewardship. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Philip Stanley Follett (1932-2011)
The late Dr. Philip Stanley Follett was a vice president for the Seventh-day Adventist world church. It was during this time that he wrote this article. Follett earned his undergraduate degree from La Sierra University, his master’s degree from Andrews University and was later awarded an honorary doctorate from Atlantic Union College. After his retirement, Follett worked as the president of LifeTalk Radio, located in Simi Valley, California, until 2008, and part-time in various capacities until 2011. He contributed untiringly towards Adventist media development and helped Hope Channel become what it is today. His wife Bernardine DeFehr Follett preceded Follett in death in 1985. He had battled cancer before his death. He is survived by two adult children, Lorraine Ball and David Follett and two grandchildren. Follet’s daughter, Lorraine Ball, says that her father had a gift for “seeing the big picture” that made him a sounding board for the many young people he mentored throughout his life. (Review & Herald: Obituary)