What does healthy stewardship look like?

As a young child, my faithful mother always put money in my hands, so I had something to place into the offering bag. It was a very small amount. We were not rich… we were the opposite. However, the values she planted in me were priceless.

God’s grace multiplied that small amount and transformed the way I saw generosity. He multiplied my mother’s humble act. And as a result, today, I have the privilege of inviting you to join God in His loving, generous, and restorative work around the world.

So… what does healthy stewardship look like?

In the Parable of the Bags of Gold (Matthew 25:14-30), we learned that healthy stewardship was not about keeping our money safe. Jesus spoke of the third servant, who kept the gold ‘safe’, as “wicked and lazy”. But the two servants who had multiplied the gold that they were given, Jesus called good and faithful.

But does this mean Jesus is only concerned with multiplying gold or money?

What Jesus conveys with this parable, is that the coming of His kingdom is like an end of a journey… where we are all made accountable for what was given to us.

This parable tells the story of a man with authority, entrusting his servants with bags of gold. When he returned, the expectations were clear – every servant had the capacity to multiply what they were generously given.

While some may focus on the master in this story being a “hard man”, grace compels me to see the master’s trust and belief in his servants’ capacity. The master knew, even with minimal work, that they were able to multiply what was given. To the servants who used their capacity, the master’s response was, well done, good and faithful servant!

Like my mother, these servants are people of good witness and faithful work. Out of which multiplication flows, naturally…

Good witness.
Bryant Myers, in his book, Walking with the poor, suggests that we need to get back to our biblical foundations and actively live as witnesses to Jesus’s mission (Acts 1:8), rather than separating action from evangelism.

‘Witness’ involves all aspects of our lives! Our speech, our actions, and how we do relationships. As an integrated whole, my life – your life – stands as a witness to Who and what we are about. Like a witness giving evidence in a trial, your whole life offers evidence to His kingdom.

…that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:16

Faithful work.
Growing up, I had a skewed understanding of ‘work’. Either it was this labour-intense activity or, at church, this effort-based, legalistic way to earn grace. But when ‘work’ is defined correctly as our God-given vocation, then it fundamentally speaks into who we were originally created to be.

In Genesis, He creates humanity in His image and to be His image bearers on earth. God invites us to be co-creators of goodness with Him.  And we are to lovingly reflect in our vocation – through our work – the loving way God created the world!

For Christ’s love compels us… We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,
as though God were making His appeal through us.

– 2 Corinthians 5:14-20

In Jesus’s kingdom economy, numbers can certainly multiply. But His main concern remains our foundation: good witness and faithful work. And you have the opportunity to multiply both, today, through your gift to the Matching Grant Appeal.

To the world – our churches stand as witnesses to God’s heart for generosity and justice. To the poor communities we seek to serve, you and I stand as witnesses to God’s goodness, compassion, and resilient hope. We will not give up because the love of Jesus never gives up!

After Jesus illustrates healthy stewardship, in Matthew 25, He continues by calling them His “righteous” ones (right-doing or justice keeping ones). They are the ones who cared for the impoverished, the vulnerable, and the marginalised (verses 35-36). The righteous are the ones who spent their capacity, taking care of “the least of these”. They are God’s children.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing God multiply transformation across the globe. And more recently, I’ve personally witnessed God’s transformation – thanks to your own good witness and faithful work – in both Lebanon and Cambodia.

Today you have another opportunity to steward what God has given, wisely… by giving a gift to the Matching Grant Appeal. And although your generosity will be matched by an Australian Government aid grant by up to 10:1, remember, your gift is not just about the multiplication of a dollar figure or donation.

Because, by supporting the Matching Grant Appeal, you will multiply your good witness of who Jesus is and your faithful work for His kingdom in vulnerable communities across the world.

Give now: baptistworldaid.org.au/matching-grant  

Note: To get the full benefit of this grant, we must receive at least $1 in donations from supporters like you for every $10 of Australian Government funding provided.