PERSPECTIVE

The Steward and Beyond

The steward is the supreme authority under the Master and bears full responsibility for the Master’s possessions and affairs! The

steward not only has an awesome responsibility but consider the potential opportunities a steward can accomplish in a lifetime! Have you recently reflected on the opportunities life has

given you? For example: managing resources successfully through the last economic

downturn; being able to make the last educational payment for the children;

participating in the mission and ministry of the gospel commission with

God-provided time, talents and finances at your disposal? There are times when life brings great

challenges to the faithful steward.

It is then that a steward realizes no matter what financial, parental or

health issues we face, we can turn to prayer—realizing that all things work

together for good and in God’s timing.



As stewards our only responsibility is to be faithful! God rewards faithfulness, regardless of the amount for which we are responsible.

As stewards our only

responsibility is to be faithful! God rewards faithfulness, regardless of the

amount for which we are responsible.

We are required to be faithful whether we are given much or little. It is not what I would do with a

hundred thousand dollars, any more than what I do with the hundred dollars I

have. A steward is faithful with

what he is given. Scripture

provides the guideline in 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Now it is required that those who

have been given trust must prove faithful.”



Throughout our lives,

stewardship values are constantly being clarified through learning experiences,

the study of Scripture and understanding parental influences. As Christians, we understand that God

is the Creator and Giver of all for which we are called to be stewards. The question we must all answer is,

“What legacy will I leave for my family and friends?” As we progress through

life as stewards, we will be confronted with several change points. These may be the transition to a home

without children, experiencing

preretirement activities and then retirement planning itself. It is during this time that we look

beyond the present day and begin to focus our thoughts and attention on what

will be our legacy. This is when

we contemplate our stewardship responsibilities to God and family as it relates

to our accumulated assets.



The

Planned Giving & Trust Services Department is really an extension of

stewardship ministries. Planned giving, charitable gift planning and the older term

used, deferred giving, all refer to charitable contributions made with some

level of professional guidance. Charitable gift

planning perpetuates the donor’s values. That which has been valuable to

a person in life will also be valuable at the end of this life. Donors plan

through various estate planning documents such as a bequest in a will, a

Charitable Gift Annuity or Charitable Remainder Trust to make it possible

for churches and institutions

to carry on their work. Charitable gift planning will become more important in

the years to come as stewards look for effective ways to generate lifetime

streams of income and make provisions in support of that which has been

valuable to them in their lifetime.

Gary Dodge
Gary Dodge is

Director of Planned Giving and Trust Services for the General Conference of

Seventh-day Adventists. He holds a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving

designation from the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies.

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