In recent months, we have been developing a facility master plan. And the real rub has come as we have talked about the cost of renovations and the allocation of limited financial resources. There are no easy answers. We are called to be good stewards of God’s resources. And we should feel the weight of these decisions.
But I did want to address what I see as a common misunderstanding in this realm of stewardship. Too often, stewardship has come to mean spending as little as possible. Oswald Chambers was a noted protestant minister in Scotland. He had an ability to express profound truth with an economy of words. Regarding stewardship, he wrote, “Money is one of the touchstones in our Lord’s teaching. Nowadays we are taken up with our ideas of economy and thrift, and never see that those ideas are not God’s ideas.” (The Place of Help, 1028)
Clearly money is important. Jesus spent a great deal of time helping his followers to see that their relationship with money indicated a great deal about their relationship to God (Matthew 6:24). But Jesus never taught his disciples to save and scrimp their resources. Jesus applauds those who distributed/spent money in generous and radical ways. Judas was not impressed with the woman who “wasted” her bottle of expensive ointment on Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-8). But Jesus praised her. The losers in God’s economy are those who bury their resources or simply accumulate to build bigger barns so they can avoid work and pad their retirement accounts.
So as we consider a building improvement or a missions allocation or a ministry initiative, let’s make sure we are asking the right questions. The question isn’t “How can we spend as little as possible?” Instead we ought to be asking, “What is the right thing to do?” “How can we accomplish it in the right way?” “What will bring the greatest impact?” “How can we do it with excellence?”
Photo credit: Jeffrey Parker Architects