What Is Financial Stewardship?
By Fr. Paul Kucynda
When reading the New Testament, we are often surprised to discover that Jesus was concerned with man and his relationship with material possessions, and particularly with his money. One sixth of all the words of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, deal with the relationship of people and their material possessions. One third of all the parables are devoted to the subject. For Jesus, money and possessions and the use or misuse of them was of tremendous importance to the spiritual growth of man.
The Church Fathers of the fourth century and onward were equally concerned with man and his relationship with money. In his writings, St. John Chrysostom chastised those who have wealth and hoard it for themselves while their brothers and sisters are in need. He even went so far as to say that giving to those in need is greater than beautifying the Church building. He, too, saw money and the use or misuse of it as a tremendous challenge for believers.
In our day it is equally necessary for us to address this issue honestly. Every generation of believers must be informed as to the tremendous opportunity for good and evil found in the management of material possessions, and particularly money.
If Christian stewardship is nothing less than God’s call for us to use wisely all the resources of the earth and of our life, then financial stewardship is just one of the aspects of the entire invitation. Good financial stewardship requires us to make responsible decisions about our relationship to money on a daily basis. This must be done freely and consciously as we seek to do God’s work and let His will be done through our lives.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are called “friends of the Bridegroom” and “co-workers with the Lord.” Because of this, the importance we give to the quality and quantity of our financial gifts, brought regularly to the Church in support of her work, is vital to spiritual growth not only of the Church as a whole, but of each of us.