"God owns everything, and we are stewards of it for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom."
"There cannot be a safer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments which we posses are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbor." – John Calvin
We have learned that those who have the most joy with giving to RPTS and other ministries are folks who understand and live by Biblical Stewardship principles. As we have encouraged you to consider supporting RPTS financially, including through your estate plans, it is equally on our hearts to share with you about Biblical stewardship so that you can have transformational joy in partnering with us.
Giving is just as much about your heart and experience as a steward of God's resources as it is about helping to meet the needs of the Seminary. We are concerned that you would be blessed and transformed through your benevolence. Following are a few nuggets that we hope will foster you joy and purpose in giving. We encourage you to study through the Scripture references as you prayerfully consider how God would have you give.
Seven Foundational Biblical Stewardship Principles:
(Excerpts from a lecture on Biblical Stewardship by Gary Hoag, Vice President of Advancement for Denver Seminary, at a training seminar hosted by the Association for Theological Schools in 2006 (used with permission).
1. God owns everything (Psalm 24:1, cf.; Leviticus 25:23 and 1 Chronicles 29:11). Keeping this in mind, we are encouraged to meditate on Richard Foster's words: "God's ownership of everything also changes the kind of question we ask in giving. Rather than, 'How much of my money should I give to God?' We learn to ask, 'How much of God's money should I keep for myself?' The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions." (The Challenge of the Disciplined Life)
2. People are stewards of gifts and goods. (Romans 12:6a; 1 Chronicles 29:14). Considering this, we keep in mind the words of Larry Burkett: "We are merely stewards of God's property while we are on earth. He can choose to entrust us with as much or as little as He desires, but in no case will we ever take ownership." (The Word on Finances) So Patrick H. McNamara states, "Each of us is entrusted with a particular set of created gifts and good things we have been given in this life. Each of us is responsible for how these gifts are used; we will someday have to give our own account. The stewardship ideal urges each Christian disciple to acknowledge what he or she has received by being ready to return these gifts to God through Jesus Christ. Return is expressed in willingness to use one's time, talent and treasure to advance the Kingdom of God." (More than Money: Portraits of Transformative Stewardship)
3. Gifts are to be used to edify the Church and glorify God. (1 Peter 4:10; James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 12:7). Notice, as Gary Hoag pointed out, that it is as if we are the gift in these texts.
4. Goods are to be given, shared, and enjoyed. (Exodus 25:2, cf.; Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Romans 12:13). Martin Luther's words are poignant here: "I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." And John Calvin: "There cannot be a safer rule, nor a stronger exhortation to the observance of it, than when we are taught that all the endowments which we posses are divine deposits entrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbor."
5. Leaders model and teach contentment and generosity. (1 Chronicles 29:1-20; Phillipians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 3:2-3, 6:6-9, 17-19; Titus 1:11; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Consider the words of C.S. Lewis here: "He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone."
6. Practicing stewardship leads to spiritual growth. (2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Timothy 1:6). Here Martin Luther again speaks to us: "There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, mind and the purse." And Wesley K. Willmer: "Stewardship is God's way of raising people, not man's way of raising money." Gary Hoag adds, "God does a work in each of our lives when we learn and practice stewardship principles."
7. Generosity flows from a transformed heart. (2 Corinthians 8:5; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Luke 21:3-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39; Mark 6:32-44; 8:1-10; Luke 9:10b-17; John 6:1-15).
Other Biblical Stewardship Resources
We recommend and have given the following books to our friends interested in further study on Biblical Stewardship: Heart, Soul, and Money: A Christian View of Possessions, by Craig L. Blomberg, and A 40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life, by Brian Kluth. We would be happy to share a copy of either of these books as a gift if you would be interested to read them. Conact the Development Department to have them mailed to you.
Also, we encourage you to visit the following website for myriad teaching and resources on Biblical Stewardship: www.generousgiving.org.
Finally, this Stewardship Portfolio diagram may serve you well: