Want to learn more about Stewardship? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 14-part series.
It may seem jarring to go from studying righteousness
by faith in Galatians and Romans to studying stewardship! Stewardship
is not my favorite topic, but I cannot recall ever teaching the
subject in any detail. It is, however, an important issue and a study
in which we can all learn more about God’s will for us. Let’s dig
into the Bible for our first lesson in our new series on stewardship!
Our study of Luke 12 last week taught us some important
lessons. First, Luke 12:30 tells us that our Father in heaven knows
that “we need” the material things that the “pagan world runs after.”
Second, Luke 12:31 tells us that if we seek God’s kingdom, God will
give us the things the pagan world seeks. That is an interesting
message, one that is easily misunderstood. Let’s continue our study
this week by looking at what the Bible teaches us about taking and
giving to others!
In our first lesson of this series we learned that if
we seek the Kingdom of God, He will give us all of the material
things that the pagans run after (Luke 12:30-31). If that is true,
then is the title to this lesson misleading? Is being a servant of
God incompatible with having money? If it is, how do we explain the
heroes of the Old Testament who were generally very wealthy men? The
heroes of the New Testament, on the other hand, were generally poor.
So, is this a conflict between the two testaments of the Bible? Or,
is there one unified message in the Bible about wealth? Let’s jump
into our study of the Bible and see if we can find God’s message on
Have you heard the claim that the rich are greedy? Does
that seem right to you? If the rich are already rich, why would they
be greedy for more? Or, is this a reference to a time when the rich
were not rich? If it is a reference to the time when the rich were
poor, then wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the poor are
greedy? Think about the time in your life when you had the least
money. Was money a focus? I know that my wife and I were a lot more
focused on money when we were first married and we were very poor.
Our lesson this week is about being different than the world, and
avoiding a focus on money. I think this is a lesson that everyone
needs, whether you feel you are rich or poor. Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and learn about focus!
“Steward” is not a term used very much today. “Agent,”
“representative,” “employee” or “manager” are more common terms. But,
do those words capture the full meaning of being a steward? More
important for our purposes, do they capture the Biblical meaning
being God’s steward? Let’s once more immerse ourselves in God’s word
to learn more about His goal for us as stewards!
Assume you decide to hire a steward because you have
considerable assets. What traits would you look for in someone to
trust with your money or your other possessions? What characteristics
could be ignored? You would want the person to be smart, or at least
wise, right? Honest? Loyal, in the sense of having your best
interests at heart? Competent? If you think these characteristics are
important, perhaps even mandatory, would God’s requirements be
different? They might be, right? Let’s plunge into our study of the
Bible and learn more about being God’s steward!
Many years ago, I met with a group of public school
teachers who wanted to explore what was involved in obtaining a job-related religious accommodation. They had religious objections to
supporting a labor union. The short answer was that they needed to
tell the union about their religious beliefs, and ask that they be
allowed to pay the union fees to a charity that they and the union
agreed upon. When the teachers drove up to the meeting place, I
noticed one of them had a beautiful new Cadillac. Later, the Cadillac
owner asked whether a religious accommodation meant that he would
resign from the union. I was astonished, how could you have religious
objections to an organization and want to remain a member? The
mystery was solved when he said he needed to remain a member so that
he could purchase low cost car insurance! His faith had a price, and
that price was the difference in the insurance premium amount.
Consider whether dishonesty is putting a price on your faith. Let’s
explore some novel ways the Bible defines dishonesty.
While many debate what tithing means today, what cannot
reasonably be disputed is that God consistently teaches that those
who advance His gospel are entitled to support from those who
benefit. To better understand what God has in mind for us today,
let’s start with Paul’s teaching in the New Testament and follow that
with what Moses taught in the Old Testament. What could be better
than digging into God’s word to see what we can learn!
What does it mean to make an “offering” to God? In the
Old Testament, it was often bringing an animal. To me, the phrase
“tithes and offerings,” brings to mind giving money. I recall fondly
the many times when I was up in front of our church with our pastor.
When it came time to collect the “offering,” I would hand him a
dollar to donate because he never remembered his offering. It became
a point of humor between us, that I would automatically hand him a
dollar. This week we will explore a different kind of offering, one
that does not involve small amounts of money, but rather large
amounts of your life. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and
This week I listened to a TED talk about capitalism.
The speaker said capitalism was not a political theory or merely a
philosophy of economics, it was an “operating system.” Just like your
cell phone (or computer) has an operating system, the speaker argued
that capitalism was the way that successful economic life operated.
His example was that the two biggest economic systems in the world,
the United States and China, have completely different political
systems, but have capitalist economic systems. Our lesson this week
considers whether stewardship is the “operating system” of the
Christian life. Whatever may be your specific doctrinal views,
stewardship is the common denominator for successful Christians.
Let’s plunge into the Scriptures and see if you agree!
Forbes says that foolishly spending money is the number
one cause for divorce. While others dispute the extent of the
relationship between money and divorce, a common view is that
financial problems tend to seep into other areas of family life and
create friction. My guess is that couples are not fighting over how
to spend extra money, they are in conflict over the debt that arises
from foolish spending. Did you know that the Bible gives us counsel
on debt? It does! Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and see what
we can learn about God’s view of debt!
For a very long time I have attended a weekly Bible
study group. Those groups change over the years. Sometimes I am in
charge, and sometimes I am not. (I prefer it when I’m not in charge.)
Recently, I told the friend hosting our current Bible study that we
might have three new people show up that night. Turned out, none of
them showed up. Why? Unlike the current members of the group,
attending has not become a habit. Have you noticed that you can make
new habits that improve your life? Recently, I’ve created the habit
of going to the gym. What habits would you like to create? What
habits does the Bible tell us to adopt? Let’s dive into our study of
the Bible and find out!
How then should we live? After studying all of these
lessons on stewardship, now that we come to the last lesson, have you
changed your attitudes and your actions? We learned that God is much
more generous to us than He is demanding. We learned that being
generous, like our God, is the key to a better life. We learned that
generosity is not only about money, it is also about our time, our
talents, and our attention. We’ve learned that stewards must have
common sense. We’ve learned that stewards trust God. Let’s finish
this series by studying some passages from the Bible that help us
understand exactly what living the life of God’s steward looks like!