Stewardship and Worship
Mary Taylor, Assistant Editor, General Conference Stewardship Ministries
Summary: Stewardship is a most important element in worship, beyond that of financial giving as most of us think. We discover the joy of giving when we discover that stewardship is everything we do from the moment we confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
What God expects
It has been said that stewardship in worship appears to be a classic oxymoron. In terms of these two words, we think of stewardship and worship as two totally separate and unrelated actions. However, from the Christian perspective, it has been suggested that in worship, if stewardship and worship are separated, a significant element of the entire event of worship is absent. Stewardship in worship is our response and personal commitment to God. It is love in action.
God expects tangible, physical fruit from his people as well as invisible spiritual results. He expects from us who benefit from the Good News of the gospel to do our part in helping to extend the message of his love to others. Without hesitation we think of this action as our brotherly obligation and duty.
Christian stewardship is the believer’s grateful and obedient response to God’s love. In the book Building God’s People in a Materialistic Society, John Westerhoff says, “Stewardship is nothing less than a complete lifestyle, a total accountability and responsibility before God. Stewardship is what we do after we commit and give ourselves, our love, loyalty, and trust to God, from whom each and every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from him.”
Understanding stewardship and worship
Stewardship is a faith discipline rather than a task. Stewardship is a most important element in worship, beyond that of financial giving as most of us think. The believer is witness and steward of the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. We discover the joy of giving when we discover that stewardship is everything we do from the moment we confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
“Stewardship is about more than money—it is about balance. It is living life in response to God’s love. This not only includes our money, but our health, our talents, our service, our love, and our worship. Stewardship and worship are not separate from—they are a part of, our obligation and joy of Christian life” (Christian Stewardship, by Joe Reynolds, www.christchurchcathedral.org.educationa.html).
The Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In worship we are presented with the costly sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. We learn that we are claimed and set free by Him. As a result of our understanding this love, we are led to respond by offering to Him our praise, our lives, our particular gifts and abilities, and our material goods. Hence, Christian stewardship is the believer’s grateful and obedient response to God’s love. Stewardship is nothing less than a complete lifestyle, a total accountability and responsibility before God, a stance of worship.