2nd Corinthians 8 - Guidance for the Steward
What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men. - 2 Corinthians 8:19-21
I would like to continue to look at the 2nd Letter from Paul to the church at Corinth in our quest to understand how God looks at the steward in the New Testament.
In this passage Paul is referring to the gifts that he has received from the churches, including the church at Corinth. He is speaking of Titus as someone who will be the leader that overseas the delivering of the gifts and offerings. Here is where we learn some specific things that are important to the Christian development officer:
- How we give and administer the gifts of our donors honors the Lord. It is important to God and the body of Christ that we are good administrators of gifts given toward ministry. I know that once we receive gifts we can believe they are now "ours" and it is our responsibility to use them the way we see best. While this is true, we must never forget that giving of gifts is more than just a means to an end. They are the sacrificial gifts of stewards eager to please God with their faithful stewardship.
- How we administer our gifts demonstrates our eagerness to help. Our goal as 501c3 organizations is to make an impact on people. Our mission is to change the world through people. But if we keep building the organization at the expense of impacting people, are we really good stewards?
- We want to avoid criticism of our use of gifts. Avoiding criticism seems like a good PR move. But Paul writes it is more than that, it avoids criticism of the God we serve.
- We must work hard to do what is right. Working hard has never been a problem for missionaries, teachers, etc. But this means we must work hard as leaders to do what is right. In this world of questionable ethics, I am amazed at how many leaders, workers, pastors, and yes, consultants do not see ethics as a big deal. Well, it is!
- We should be concerned with how God looks at us, but also how the world looks at us. We all seek to please our God. He is worthy of our best efforts. Yet, some see that as our only accountability. Paul directs us to make sure the world sees whom we belong to, whom we serve. I see many ministry leaders that scoff at accountability to government, public image, and even other ministries. We have let our ministries move from a humble member of our communities, to arrogant organizations who allow a perception of complete independence from the world to be created. This does not honor God.
These points are easy to write, but can be difficult to implement. I know some in ministry who believe if the staff and board thinks something with development is OK, then that is all they worry about. They can be insular in thinking and not pay attention to the eyes of man.
As development leaders we all have an opportunity to keep biblical stewardship in the forefront of our organizations. Consider this scripture as a teaching topic for your boards, executive directors, and staff.
Blessings till next time,
Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE, CCNL