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Reflections: Giving

Stewardship: We're God's managers
By Milt Kuyers

During our diverse discussions, our reading group talked about our individual observations of the lack of judgment in spending decisions of both Christians and non-Christians that may have contributed to the current financial crisis. Overspending on an individual’s wants—including homes, automobiles and vacations—often exceeding that individual’s current ability to pay, was a leading cause of the national consequences that transpired. We believe that these personal spending decisions were often founded on greed, envy and an interest in taking care only of one’s own wants, rather than also looking out for the needs of those around us.

We shared our common belief that God owns everything, as Psalm 24:1 illustrates: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”(NIV) Based on this scripture reference, we agreed that biblical stewardship encompasses 100 percent of our resources, not just that percentage of our income and resources which we have chosen to give to God’s kingdom causes.

Therefore, throughout our lives, with God’s blessings and direction: We manage God’s resources, we grow God’s resources, we reap from God’s assets and we allocate God’s assets.

If we do a good job, God may compliment our performance by blessing us and giving us more to manage. As a business person, I understand very clearly that everything I have, including my businesses, belongs to God.

My understanding of these biblical principles started very early in my life.

I remember an event that my dad and mom talked about and then acted on. Our local Christian school was making plans to expand its building because of the school’s growth, and my dad had attended the school society meeting during which someone had challenged those present with this statement: “A large number of people here should be able to contribute $1,000 right now.” That was a lot of money in the late 1940s—a  little over three months gross pay for my dad.

We, as children, overheard their discussions regarding this challenge. They talked about the fact that they had no savings. So my dad suggested to Mom that he would stop at their bank the next day to try to arrange a loan for $1,000, which they would then contribute for the proposed Christian school expansion.

The next day Dad stopped at the bank on his way home from work. I was home when Dad returned from the bank. I remember him coming into the kitchen and my mom asking him, “Pete, how did it go at the bank?”

My dad sat down at the kitchen table and began to cry as he explained to Mom that the bank wouldn’t lend him the $1,000 because, based on his income, they weren’t sure that the loan could ever be repaid. My parents couldn’t do what they believed God was calling them to do through extreme sacrificial giving.

I’ve never forgotten this event! It has shaped the part of my life I describe as that of being a steward. We are often changed for life because we have observed outstanding role models.

Questions for reflection:

  • Because we don’t actually see giving take place, and because we’re reluctant to talk about stewardship, have we made it nearly impossible for the next generation to learn about giving from role models?
  • How does greed and envy impact our lives, even Christians’ lives, when it comes to how much we choose to give?
  • Would you consider borrowing to give?

—Milt Kuyers, Class of 1957, Chairman and CEO, Faustel Inc.

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