a. What is the basis of Christian stewardship? Psalms 37:4–6; 24:1.
“If the Word of God is cherished as an abiding principle in the heart and held fast under all and every circumstance, man is brought, with his entrusted capabilities, under [subjection] to the Lord Jesus Christ. His undivided powers, even his thoughts, are brought into captivity to Christ. This is true sanctification. All the parts of the experience blend in complete harmony. He is ‘wanting in nothing.’ He does not keep part to himself, to do with just as he pleases.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 190.
b. Explain the primary motives of the Christian steward and the chief asset sought. Matthew 6:33, 34; Philippians 3:8.
“We are Christ’s witnesses, and we are not to allow worldly interests so to absorb our time and attention that we pay no heed to the things that God has said must come first. There are higher interests at stake. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’ Christ gave His all to the work that He came to do, and His word to us is, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ ‘So shall ye be My disciples.’ ”—Messages to Young People, p. 314.
a. A steward manages another’s property. Name some important things over which we are stewards. 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2.
“Those with whom God has entrusted His truth, must possess the same beneficent spirit that Christ manifested. They must adopt the same broad plans of action. They should have a kind, generous spirit toward the poor, and in a special sense feel that they are God’s stewards. They must hold all they have—property, mental powers, spiritual strength—as not their own, but only lent them to advance the cause of Christ in the earth. Like Christ, they should not shun the society of their fellow men, but should seek it with the purpose of bestowing upon others the heavenly benefits they have received from God.”— Gospel Workers, p. 335.
b. Where does the Christian steward accumulate wealth? Matthew 6:19–21, 24, 33.
“God desires us to choose the heavenly in place of the earthly. He opens before us the possibilities of a heavenly investment. He would give encouragement to our loftiest aims, security to our choicest treasure. He declares, ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir’ (Isaiah 13:12). When the riches that moth devours and rust corrupts shall be swept away, Christ’s followers can rejoice in their heavenly treasure, the riches that are imperishable.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 374.
c. How do Christian stewards handle the wealth entrusted to them by their Master? 1 Timothy 6:18, 19; Proverbs 19:17.
“All should feel that they are not proprietors, but stewards, and that the time is coming when they must give an account for the use they have made of their Lord’s money. Means will be needed in the cause of God. With David they should say: ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee’ [1 Chronicles 29:14].”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 382.
3. POSITIVE ATTITUDES
a. What should the Christian steward consider in the face of an economic downturn? Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:28.
b. Why is our approach to financial matters so important? Proverbs 16:2.
c. What warnings come to Christian stewards with regard to our attitudes and motives? 1 John 2:15, 16.
“Satan is constantly presenting inducements to God’s chosen people to attract their minds from the solemn work of preparation for the scenes just in the future. He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He clothes his plans and snares with coverings of light borrowed from heaven. He tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit by making her believe that she would be greatly advantaged thereby. Satan leads his agents to introduce various inventions and patent rights and other enterprises, that Sabbathkeeping Adventists who are in haste to be rich may fall into temptation, become ensnared, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. He is wide awake, busily engaged in leading the world captive, and through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to draw the unwary who profess to believe the truth to unite with worldlings. The lust of the eye, the desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment, is a temptation and snare to God’s people. Satan has many finely woven, dangerous nets which are made to appear innocent, but with which he is skillfully preparing to infatuate God’s people. There are pleasing shows, entertainments, phrenological lectures, and an endless variety of enterprises constantly arising calculated to lead the people of God to love the world and the things that are in the world. Through this union with the world, faith becomes weakened, and means which should be invested in the cause of present truth are transferred to the enemy’s ranks. Through these different channels Satan is skillfully draining the purses of God’s people, and for it the displeasure of the Lord is upon them.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 550, 551.
a. What surrounds the true Christian steward? Psalm 32:10.
b. What qualities are present in a faithful steward of the Lord? Proverbs 3:5, 6; Job 23:12.
“The psalmist says, ‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed’ (Psalm 37:3). ‘Trust in the Lord.’ Each day has its burdens, its cares and perplexities; and when we meet how ready we are to talk of our difficulties and trials. So many borrowed troubles intrude, so many fears are indulged, such a weight of anxiety is expressed, that one might suppose we had no pitying, loving Saviour ready to hear all our requests and to be to us a present help in every time of need.”—Steps to Christ, p. 121.
c. Describe some lessons from nature that can give instruction to the Christian steward. Matthew 6:25–30.
“As each thing in nature ministers thus to the world’s life, it also secures its own. ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you’ (Luke 6:38), is the lesson written no less surely in nature than in the pages of Holy Writ.”—Education, p. 103.
“Consider, says Jesus, how the lilies grow; how, springing from the cold, dark earth, or from the mud of the river bed, the plants unfold in loveliness and fragrance. Who would dream of the possibilities of beauty in the rough brown bulb of the lily? But when the life of God, hidden therein, unfolds at His call in the rain and the sunshine, men marvel at the vision of grace and loveliness. Even so will the life of God unfold in every human soul that will yield itself to the ministry of His grace, which, free as the rain and the sunshine, comes with its benediction to all. It is the word of God that creates the flowers, and the same word will produce in you the graces of His Spirit.
“God’s law is the law of love. He has surrounded you with beauty to teach you that you are not placed on earth merely to delve for self, to dig and build, to toil and spin, but to make life bright and joyous and beautiful with the love of Christ—like the flowers, to gladden other lives by the ministry of love.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 97.
a. What does the Christian steward do upon discovering the truest riches of the universe? Luke 15:8, 9; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
“Forgetting our own difficulties and troubles, let us praise God for an opportunity to live for the glory of His name. Let the fresh blessings of each new day awaken praise in our hearts for these tokens of His loving care. When you open your eyes in the morning, thank God that He has kept you through the night. Thank Him for His peace in your heart. Morning, noon, and night, let gratitude as a sweet perfume ascend to heaven.”—The Review and Herald, June 2, 1910.
“Have we not reason to talk of God’s goodness and to tell of His power? When friends are kind to us we esteem it a privilege to thank them for their kindness. How much more should we count it a joy to return thanks to the Friend who has given us every good and perfect gift. Then let us, in every church, cultivate thanksgiving to God. Let us educate our lips to praise God in the family circle.”—My Life Today, p. 170.
b. For what does the Christian steward give the greatest thanks? Psalm 119:14, 72, 127.
“The glorious possibilities set before Israel could be realized only through obedience to God’s commandments. The same elevation of character, the same fulness of blessing—blessing on mind and soul and body, blessing on house and field, blessing for this life and for the life to come—is possible for us only through obedience.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 305.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can you demonstrate commitment to the cause of the gospel?
2. What is the job description of a Christian steward?
3. How does your attitude affect your financial decision-making?
4. What is necessary to put God totally in control of your finances?
5. What do you discover when you count your blessings?