Erika F. Puni, Director, General Conference Stewardship

Summary: Dr. Puni reminisces of his childhood and the part he played in being a courier and steward of the money God has placed in our hands.

I grew up in the Ellice Islands—now the State of Tuvalu in the South Pacific. As the son of missionaries, I had a limited understanding and appreciation of money, its value and influence on society. In some remote places of the world you do not need money to survive, because these communities are not market driven.

My first experience with money occurred when my mother rewarded us children on Sunday with pennies to buy candy for reciting our memory verses in church. In this situation, money was a means to an end, and it certainly provided good motivation for us to learn Bible passages!

During those early years, I had another experience with money that I still remember to this day. In fact, it made such an impact on my mind that it continues to influence my Christian development in the area of financial stewardship.

In our home—a simple thatched hut appropriate for tropical conditions—were two empty cans with labels my mother pasted on them. One can had the word ?Tithe? on it, and the other, ?Offerings.? For us children, these two cans clearly showed that tithe and offerings were holy to God—money set aside for His purpose. This family practice of visibly identifying something for God was good Christian education for my siblings and me. It was a powerful object lesson that constantly reminded us of God and the things that are His.

On Friday afternoon, I was often given an extra chore along with my regular responsibilities. This assignment was to take the money—a note or coin with a higher value—that was inside the ?Offering? can to the local store. My task was to change it to pennies so that each member of my family would have offerings to give God when we went to church to worship the next day. For this special run to the store, my mother would always say, ?Son, you’re in charge of God’s money from here to the store and back. Don’t lose it, and don’t ever give it to anybody except to the shopkeeper for change. Jesus will look after you!? And so, for those few moments, I had the privilege of being the courier and steward of God’s money.

This issue of Dynamic Steward focuses on our partnership with God as we take up our privilege of being His courier and steward of the money He has placed in our hands.

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October–December, 2005

Money