Stewardship: it means "one who takes care of the house". Specifically, God's house. As in the earth and all that is in it. As God charged Adam and Eve: Serve and protect this land (Genesis 2:15).
1. What things has God given you to care for? Make a list of all the things you own, watch over, support, take care of, or worry about. Do this as individuals and as a collective household. And yes, even the 3-year-olds have things they own (like a doll) or are responsible for (like putting the caps back on the markers). Be as expansive as possible!
2. One of the things God has put you in charge of is money (and all the things money buys). It may feel like a little or may be a lot, but you are the one that gets to decide what happens to it. Make a chart and divide all your money and possessions into the following categories: 1) Only benefits me, 2) Only benefits my family, 3) Benefits both me / my family and others, 4) Only benefits others.
3. Read Matthew 22:36-40. How balanced does your chart look? Do you love your neighbor like you love yourself? Don't feel bad if you have a lot in the first two categories; we will always have things that are only for us (like underwear!). The goal of the commandment is balance.
4. Read Psalm 147. Read Matthew 6:25-34 also, where Jesus may have been thinking of Psalm 147:9. The biggest challenges to sharing is the belief that I don't have enough. And if there's not enough for me, then there's definitely not enough to share. What does the Bible tell us about everything we have?
5. Compare Luke 12:13-21 with Luke 19:11-27. The other big challenge to sharing is the desire that I have more. What happened to the people who didn't share in these stories? Why do you think that happened? How could the stories have gone differently?
6. Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 (if you have time, read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 first). As Christians, we believe in a God who provides generously and in abundance. This means, in one way or another, all of us have an abundance, possibly even in things that don't always feel very abundant. Consider your chart from #2 one more time. What would change on that list if you lived with a sense of generosity toward others and of trust in God's abundance?
7. At this point, you must be thinking this vision in Scripture does not match reality. You only have so much money, and you need it for certain things. Envisioning generosity and abundance feels like an impossible dream. If a leap of faith seems too much, consider taking a baby step. What's one change you saw in #6 that you could actually make happen in your life this month?
Read Deuteronomy 6:5, Romans 12:1, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Then repeat #2, #6, and #7 above, but this time instead of listing money and possessions, consider listing things such as: time (over the course of a week or a month, excluding sleep) or talents and skills.
If you'd like to dig deeper into stewardship, check out this awesome Top Ten poster.