A premise, the dictionary tells us, is “a basis for understanding and action.” The premise of the 33 Days of Stewardship is the biblical concept of total-life stewardship-the idea that we are responsible before God to manage everything that He puts in our care. Not just our money, but also our time, our opportunities, our talents, our abilities, our influence, our relationships, and more. This is the philosophy behind the strategy, and when Christians grasp this “basis for understanding and action” they are transformed.
It is important at the outset of any major undertaking to go back to the basics. That’s why every year, on the first day of spring training for the Green Bay Packers, legendary coach Vince Lombardi would begin by holding the pigskin high above his head and saying, “Men, this is a football.” He knew the value of understanding the essentials. And that’s what happens in the 33 Days of Stewardship as we say in effect, “This is stewardship.” In discovering the true definition, four facts about stewardship are clear and compelling:
- True stewardship is Christ-centered. As Christian stewards we are answerable to the One for whom we are stewarding -the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Master, we are the servants; and, ultimately, each of us will give a final accounting for the way we’ve handled everything He has placed in our hands. Because all the resources arc His; indeed, because even we belong to Him, our stewardship is never about us. It’s always about Him. He is the center and circumference of our lives. As the Apostle Paul told the Colossians, He is to have “the preeminence in everything.”
- True stewardship is Faith-based. Nothing pleases a steward more than pleasing the Master; and the way to pleasing Him is the way of “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” says the writer of Hebrews. The interesting thing about this is that a component of faith is trust, the very thing God has expressed by allowing us to man age. He entrusts resources and riches to each of us, and we are to live up to that trust by managing wisely and faith fully.
- True stewardship is Love-empowered. Jesus said to the Twelve, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his ” The mark of the true Christian is genuine love for the Lord and for others, and this must be the motivation in stewardship. We don’t steward God’s resources just to be diligent or disciplined or even devoted. We do it out of love -His love which dwells in us and empowers us to live a spiritually abundant, fruitful and meaningful life.
4. True stewardship is Principle-driven. There are timeless principles of stewardship — Laws established in God’s character and expressed in His Word. These are bedrock truths with a boundless power that can transform the way we think, the way we plan, the way we act. The 33 Days strategy is designed to explore these truths, to meditate on them and to put them into practice.