Other "Thinking Drafts" and writing by Keith Drury --http://www.indwes.edu/tuesday .
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
Sanctification and Stewardship
Why would a book on holiness devote a chapter to the subject of stewardship? What
connection is there between holiness, or entire sanctification, and stewardship?
The idea of stewardship originates with the ancient practice of placing the management
of wealth in the hands of another. Abraham, for instance, possessed great holdings -- flocks,
herds, servants, and eventually land. The common practice was to place all these holdings in
the hands of a competent manager who would oversee the day-to-day operation of the business.
In Abraham's case, Eliezer was named as the manager, or steward of his operation. Great trust
and authority were vested in these stewards, especially when the owner was on a far journey and
the total control was in the hands of the steward for months or even years.
In ancient literature, there seems to be no "Steward's Code," though other professions
had such codes. Yet, is we think of an owner preparing to take a long journey, and if an
agreement were to be written between these tow men, we can easily imagine the following:
1. The owner hereby places all his belongings, namely his houses, flocks,
servants, fields, and all other tangible property into the hands of the steward for his
2. The steward shall manage, oversee, and superintend the day-to-day operation
of said possessions.
3. All daily decisions regarding the receiving of income, expenditure of funds,
and investment of assets shall be in the hands of said steward who shall at all times make such
decisions for the best interest of the owner.
4. Guidance for establishing the best interests of the owner shall be determined
by: (1) the past close personal knowledge of the owner by the steward, and (2) regular
examination of the Book of Values written by the owner and left with said steward.
5. The steward is expected to produce an increase in the net worth of the
possessions during the time of his managerial responsibility. The owner expects to return to a
greater estate than he left with the steward.
6. While growth in total possessions is expected, at the same time the steward is
expected to care for all the owner's interests generously during his absence. For example, all the
owner's children shall be cared for abundantly before any consideration is given to generating a
7. Upon the owner's return there will be an accounting of the possessions to
determine if (A) the steward managed said possessions in faithfulness to the owner's wishes as
stated in the Book of Values; (B) the steward adequately cared for the owner's children out of
the proceeds of the operation.
The idea of stewardship became a natural illustration of the relationship the believer
should have with his Heavenly Father regarding his possessions, material and otherwise. For
1. God, the owner, has placed all possessions in our hands.
2. We are charged with the management.
3. Our daily decisions are to be made in light of God's best interests.
4. Our personal relationship with Christ and the Word of God is our guide in
making these decisions.
5. We are expected to increase and develop our gifts and possessions.
6. This increase must never be at the expense of others. In fact, God expects our
care for others to rate higher as a priority than bringing an increase.
7. An accounting is coming when we will be judged on our faithfulness to care
for the owner's property and gifts.
The concept of "stewardship" is a sound on to illustrate how we should view all
possessions and gifts as from God. We are managers of His possessions. We are
superintendents of His gifts. We are to be trustworthy in carrying out daily decisions in light of
The immediate application of the idea of stewardship concerns our money. The above
principles suggest that God is the owner of all money. All funds I receive are merely entrusted
to me to manage for Him. The idea of stewardship obliterates the notion of "a tenth is the
Lord's." Stewardship says "Ten tenths are the Lord's!" Stewardship is making practical daily
decisions as if all my funds are God's.
The question is no longer, "How much shall I give?" It becomes "How much shall I
keep?" If all my income is truly God's, then His values must impact every purchase I make. As
a true steward, I can never say, "I've paid my tithe. How I spend the rest is up to me." If I
operate under the stewardship system, disturbing questions like these must come to my mind:
1. God expects me to care for myself, but when is "caring for myself" taken to
2. Who are those "children of the owner" for whom He expects me to care --
those in my church? my denomination? my country? the entire world?
3. Even though one person can't solve the whole world's problems, is that an
excuse not to do my part?
4. In light of God's values, do I really need a new TV (car, dishwasher, or lawn
5. In what way will this purchase enhance God's work on earth?
6. If Jesus were in possession of this money, who would He spend it?
7. Am I comparing myself to others, rather than tot he values in the Bible.
These questions are never fully answered for the sincere believer. In fact, God expects
us to wrestle continuously with them throughout our live. This is uncomfortable to us. We
would rather have a "cut-and-dried" set policy regarding money. For this reason, the concept of
"pay your tithe and the rest is yours" is, by far, more commonly accepted than the idea of total
The idea of total stewardship extends beyond money to include all possessions. If I am
a steward, then God is the owner of all I now hold. It is His pickup truck, His house, His
dishwasher, and His stereo system. I am just the user of these items. He expects me to use them
to further His work. Is this stretching things a bit? Can you really serve the Lord with your
dishwasher, stereo system, house, or pickup truck? Read these stories.
Roberta is a busy schoolteacher. She is dedicated to her work and goes into the
classroom early and often stays late. She considers her job a ministry and frequently takes
opportunities to give her testimony in quiet ways to the other teachers and her elementary-age
students. After school she spends much time grading paper, preparing for the next day, plus all
her home duties -- doing laundry, ironing, cleaning the house, washing dishes, reading stories to
her two children, and helping her husband with his part-time small business.. Beside all this,
Roberta is the director of her church's midweek club program, and has been asked to take
responsibility for the primary Sunday school class. She believes that having a dishwasher will
save time each evening, to allow for this added responsibility. Is this purchase good
Frank owns a sophisticated stereo system. This system is not just your average record
player. It is one of those systems with dozens of knobs and buttons, and speakers as high as
your chest. Frank, a single man, likes music. When he demonstrates his stereo system to his
guests, the music reverberates through his small bungalow. The guests feel the music as well as
Recently, the church Frank attends has experienced a dramatic growth leap in the
youth group -- following construction of their new youth gym. Each Wednesday evening more
than 75 teens meet for a weekly Bible study and share time. Frank helped out one evening. He
was surprised to see the youth leader speaking without a P.A. system. The last straw came at
the close of the meeting when the teens listened intently to a song correlated with the message
of the evening. The record, done by a Christian musician, was played on the church's old
phonograph. The sound came from tiny, inadequate speakers. Frank immediately offered to
take his system tot he gym each Wednesday evening for the youth leaders to use. Is Frank
practicing stewardship of God's stereo?
Doris and Harry finally moved into their new house. They had saved for years and
finally the opportunity came to buy a house with a large family room. They struggled a bit
before the final decision, because they had always been very missions-minded. They had often
dedicated any extra money to their "faith promise" giving. But, after prayerful consideration,
they felt this was the right decision. Doris and Harry aren't the average homeowners. They are
very particular. Some of the ladies assert that Doris dusts her furniture twice daily! Everyone
knows from the way Harry keeps his lawn that this couple likes things kept perfectly neat.
Within three months after moving into their new house, Doris and Harry experiences
the following: (A) The pastor's wife asked if the newly organized "Mothers of Preschoolers"
group could meet each Monday in her home -- with their preschoolers! (B) The youth group
asked if they could have an outing at their house in the spring to play games on their law. (C)
The midweek reminder asked for volunteers to entertain the visiting missionary coming for the
missions convention. (D) Harry began consulting with his attorney regarding a will and the
arrangements for the final distribution of his modest estate, including the house. In practicing
the principles of good stewardship how might Doris and Harry decide in each case?
Dave, an outdoorsman, cuts firewood for a hobby. Last month he purchased a use
pickup truck, promising the Lord it was available for His service at any time. Dave is not sure
how all this would have gotten done before he bought his truck, but in one month he has been
asked to haul railroad ties to use at the church parking lot, donate firewood for the church
fellowship hall, "volunteer" the use of the truck for workday at camp, and pick up Mrs.
Whitehall each Sunday morning until her lane dries up enough for a regular car to get her.
The truth from each of these situations is that with increased possessions come
increased opportunities and obligations for service. If we practice total stewardship, God is the
owner of all we have. As stewards we will use our material possessions to accomplish His will.
The concept of stewardship does not end with money and possessions. It extends to
intangibles like talents, spiritual gifts, and -- perhaps most vital -- time. If I am a faithful
steward for God, I will spend my talents, my energy, and my time in light of His values. It may
be far easier to tithe my income than to tithe my time. Faithful stewardship goes beyond
financial tithing. All of my time is God's. All my talents and energies are God's. Since this is
true, I must carefully measure where I put my time. If my gifts and abilities are God's and I am
merely caring for them, for the time being, I should seriously examine (1) where I am investing
the greatest part of my abilities, and (2) who is getting the most benefit from them.
Time is the universal equalizer. Everybody has the same amount each day. Even Jesus
Christ had only 24 hours per day. His example illustrates that we should allot some time for
rest, relaxation, going to wedding receptions, eating -- even feasting! But he also invested His
time in caring for the sick, outcast, diseased, and lonely. He spent large amounts of time in
prayer, and a huge amount in teaching and training others.
Jesus expects us to do likewise, "redeeming the time," because of the importance of the
task He has given us. Every hour we have on this earth is a gift from God. He wants us to be
stewards of our time, investing it in activities which pay off for His work on earth.
Sanctification and Stewardship
Now back to the question we posed at the outset of this chapter: "Why should a book on
holiness devote a chapter to the idea of stewardship?" What is the connection here?
The prerequisite for entire sanctification is my entire consecration. God does not
completely cleanse and energize me until I make a total consecration of everything to God,
including all my time, talents, energies, and money. Thus there is no choice, for a person
walking the sanctified life, but to live a life of total stewardship. The notion "part for God, the
rest for me," is absolutely foreign to a person who has totally consecrated his all to God. He or
she has given all to God, and from that day of dedication forward, is making a commitment to
live the life of a faithful and trustworthy steward. As the Spirit leads him or her, daily decisions
are based on, "what's best for God." This is the sanctified life.
1. What warnings and wrong values concerning money are found in each of the following
a. Luke 12:15
b. Luke 16:13-14, 19-31
c. James 5:1-6
d. Deuteronomy 8:17-18
2. What is the secret to being "wealthy" in Philippians 4:10-13?
3. Describe what happened among the early believers in Acts 4:32-35. Was this an "ideal
for all to follow" or a "mistaken experiment"?
4. Money, possessions, and time are gifts from God to use. Based on the following
scripture passages, how does God want me to spend these resources?
a. 2 Corinthians 9:6-9
b. 1 Timothy 5:8
c. 1 John 3:16-19
d. Romans 13:8
e. Romans 13:4-7
f. Romans 10:13-15
For Review and Discussion
1. What is the difference between the concepts of "tithing" or "giving to God" and the
concept of "stewardship"?
2. Stewardship obviously relates to our money. To what else does it relate? How?
3. What does entire sanctification have to do with stewardship?
4. In caring for the needs of "the Owner's children," how far does God expect us to go?
Are "His children" only believers -- or does it include all men and women?
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
Only not-for-sale copying of this chapter is permitted. All other rights reserved.
To purchase full book or leader's guide, call 1-800-4-WESLEY (1-800-493-7539)
Or visit Amazon.com page for this book.
To contribute to the thinking on this issue, or to contact the writer e-mail Tuesday@indwes.edu