Stewardship Around the World
Sometimes when we think about stewardship we are focused on our own world. That world may be our church, or the para-church ministry we work in, or it may be clients or friends who work in these organizations. But I am not sure how often we think of stewardship and how God might be fashioning a movement throughout the world.
We in the Western culture usually equate stewardship with our local church budget, or fundraising, or if we are in the field of development, we might have a more biblically based view. Stewardship has had a bad reputation for many years as a "necessary evil" or something that has to be done so you can fund "the real ministry".
Our responsibility to teach stewardship as a holistic lifestyle of following Christ is just as important as our role in being generous givers to the church around the world.
I have had the privilege of volunteering with International Steward (www.InternationalSteward.org) as they have taught Biblical stewardship to Third World countries. The results have been amazing as God has supplied their needs through generosity and decreased their "dependence" on the Western church. They have seen Christians in Haiti, India, Africa, and Belize learn how to be generous on every occasion and witness miracles of God's provision for the ministries and local churches. I encourage all of us to be aware of the movement of stewardship, as it is more than one person, one conference, or one perspective. We are all a part of what God is doing to bring the church back to a true Biblical understanding of what it means to be a steward.
On a Different Note...
Many people use their eNewsletters to review books that are written about our profession, our faith, or related topics. I want to share with you a book I read a couple of years ago that continues to impact my life and viewpoints.
"John Adams" by Robert McCullough was made into the HBO series of the same name. It is a wonderful historical account of the birth of our country. But within the story are numerous points that my reading of the book and multiple viewings of the DVD series revealed. Here are some of my thoughts for your consideration:
- John Adams and the other men who lead our country to independence were ordinary men called to an extraordinary task.
- The love between John and Abigail Adams provided a strength that greatly impacted our country's early years of leadership.
- Abigail was an amazing woman who impacted our country and at the same time held her family together during war, smallpox, extreme weather conditions, and all without her husband much of the time.
- John Adams spoke often of freedom, the law, and integrity. His high standards were key to the early Continental Congress and the early Presidency and Congress.
- The saved letters between John and Abigail Adams are the most by any President and give a detailed viewpoint of the history of that day.
- The leaders of the day, Sam Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others from the 13 colonies are well represented. The magnitude of their decisions was felt and understood by the reader and the viewer.
- Our country's freedom was determined by discussion, discourse, and argument. Those freedoms are still evident in our political system even today.
- Our winning of the Revolutionary War was much more tenuous than our history books lead us to believe. It was "touch and go" for much of the war. Many saw God's hand in their independence and they referred to it often as "Providence".
- The amazing coincidence that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
So I highly recommend this book AND the DVD Emmy Award winning series. They are enjoyable and informative. And at this important time in our country's history, it becomes even more critical to review and remember what took place to make us the most successful free country in the world. We are not a perfect country, but a very blessed one.
And our role in the world for leading and teaching stewardship is just now starting to emerge. Please let me know of other international strategies and projects that are sharing stewardship around the world. I would love to hear from you.
Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE