Stewardship and Salvation
by Mark Chan
Recently I was requested, to give a short devotional presentatio during an orientation for local church treasurers in a large metropolitan area. During the presentation I asked, “Is faithful stewardship important for salvation? Will the unfaithful steward lose his or her salvation?” One treasurer gave an emphatic, “No,” and a church pastor said, “Yes.” Who was right?
"Many faithful church members are holding a mistaken view that faithful stewardship is optional and does not affect our salvation."
Many faithful church members are holding a mistaken view that faithful stewardship is optional and does not affect our salvation. Numerous Bible texts, however, show that our obedience and our faithfulness with what has been entrusted to us is important. Our positive response will be richly rewarded, not only on earth but also in the earth made new. Those who misapply what God has given them will not only lose what they have on earth, but will also lose their salvation in the end.
The widow of Zarephath responded positively to the invitation of Prophet Elijah to use her last meal to feed God’s servant first, even though there was a great famine. She shared all that she had. Her act of faith was richly rewarded. From that moment on she had sufficient food to feed herself and her son until the famine was over.
Though the poor widow of Jesus’ time had given only two small copper coins—worth only a fraction of a penny—to the Lord’s treasury, that act of generosity did not escape the watchful eyes of Jesus. Noting the sacrifice of the widow Jesus said, “For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living" (Mark 12:44, RSV). The Lord rewarded her richly by supplying all her needs. In the parable of the foolish rich man, Christ showed the folly of those who make the world their all. In Luke 12:16-21, the rich man had a blessed opportunity of being God's almoner, but he thought only of ministering to his own comfort. Abundant provision for the wants of many had been made in the blessings bestowed upon the rich man. But he closed his heart to the cry of the needy and died a miserable and lonely death.
"In the parable of the foolish rich man, Christ showed the folly of those who make the world their all."
Ellen G. White tells us that, “Desiring to gain a reputation for self sacrifice, liberality, and devotion to the Christian faith, Ananias and Sapphira sold their property, and laid part of the proceeds at the feet of the apostles, pretending they had given it all . . . they thought to gain the reputation they coveted, and at the same time keep back part of their money . . . but they were cheating the Lord . . . He slew them both, as a warning to all of the danger of sacrificing truth to gain favor” (Medical Missionary, p.126). Many Bible stories relate how men honored God through the proper use of the gifts that He has given to them. Job was a good example of one who can be immensely rich and yet be generous to his fellow men and faithful to God at the same time. When he was put to the test, he passed with flying colors. God’s stewards today can be like Job by using their time, talents and treasure to glorify Him and be prepared to inherit an infinitely greater treasure in heaven.
Does our faithful stewardship affect our salvation? The answer is a definite, “Yes!” The steward-leader does have a sacred responsibility, therefore, of teaching faithfulness and obedience whether it be during our sermons or offertory remarks. By word and example we are to correct the mistaken view that faithful stewardship is optional. It does affect our salvation.