Perhaps you have not yet taken a moment to consider the featured image of this article. Go ahead and take another look. She’s a beauty and worthy of your consideration. I’m reminded of that old hymn, which fondly relates another ship in its chorus:
“O, I’m gonna take a trip, in the good Old Gospel Ship, I’m going far beyond the sky, O, I’m gonna shout and sing until the heavens ring, While I’m bidding this world goodbye.”
Those who have received the salvation of the Lord have united with Christ as Captain and have boarded this Gospel ship. It is with great anticipation that we are looking forward to the day when we depart en route to a city whose builder and maker is God. The Church will leave behind the glitter, glamor, and trinkets of this world for a greater glory which shall be revealed. But until we are told it is time for anchors away, we must carefully manage our time, talents, and all other treasures with faithfulness. This is a requirement. Christians should hold on loosely to our possessions, and not allow our possessions to hold on to us. We must use all within our stewardship for the Kingdom of God and in a manner that is pleasing to the Captain of our Salvation.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But for the average person who comes on board, there is a disconnect from the principles of stewardship we hold as true and our daily application of them. We must question what we really believe if that belief hasn’t changed our behavior. Let’s discuss the specifics in our application of these principles.
As people of God first, then members and ministers of His Church we have been entrusted with a very substantial stewardship. Are we good managers? We know our stewardship involves so much more than just our finances. But, whenever we hear the term we most often associate it with finances. So let’s take another look.
The organization I serve, the Congregational Holiness Church, has a good and well-balanced financial plan. But the plan only works if we the people participate in it. And since leadership sets the example for followers, herein is a matter of integrity. Every minister made a commitment to our organizations’ plan upon receiving credentials. Perhaps you have asked questions like these: Is that commitment important? What’s in it for me?
Should the Lord tarry His return, most ministers desire to have a good quality of life during their retirement years. That’s possible with the help of our Ministers’ Retirement Assistance Plan. Forty-five percent of the monies received by our credentialed ministers into our district offices go toward their personal retirement. More important than our retirement is that out of the monies received by our ministers, eight percent funds our General Mission USA Department. That eight percent of ministerial tithes is the largest share of income which this department depends upon. Knowing the available opportunities for God’s Kingdom to expand in America, I testify as a fellow minister. Our participation in the financial plan is absolutely vital for Mission USA to fulfill the Great Commission given by our Lord and the charge given by our General Conference.
This causes us to back up and view the source of those monies sent to the district office. We know God is our provider. But what group of people does He use? Our ministry income is from the people God has given us to serve. A sound application of stewardship should cause local church leaders and members to carefully ensure that we are doing our best in providing for those who serve us through the ministry.
Therefore in a spirit of gratitude, everyone involved in church leadership must teach and model scriptural stewardship. And regardless of the example set before us, as individual followers of Christ, we are responsible for being faithful to the light we have been given. After all, stewardship is the best ship to board. With great anticipation, we are all looking forward to the day when it is anchors away. And when we arrive at our blessed destination we want to hear the words, “Well done!”