This three-part Bible study examines our task to rule over creation with great care and love according to the will of God. Stewardship is about more than tithing; it’s a lifestyle.
Download the PDF of the Stewardship Bible Study.
Part One: What is God’s is God’s. What is Mine is God’s.
In Genesis 1 God tells Adam and Eve that they are to “subdue” the earth and have “dominion” over every living thing. What does that mean? To be honest, that kind of makes us sound like some villainous ruler from a movie with the world as our henchman. But despite how it sounds, it is actually a very precise way of explaining stewardship. What it means is that we have been given the task to rule over this creation God has given us with great care and love according to the will of God. What does that mean? Well, that is what this study is all about.
- What is the best gift you have ever received? What made that gift so great?
- Have you ever let someone borrow or use something that was very special to you? What was it and how did you feel about that?
- Have you ever had someone else break something that was special to you?
A Closer Look
Read together Genesis 1:28-31.
What does it say about God that He “gives” the plants to Adam and all living things for food?
It says that God is the original owner of creation. You cannot give something that doesn’t properly belong to you, so if God is giving the plants for food, then the plants properly belong to God.
Read together Leviticus 25:23-24, Haggai 2:6-9, and Psalm 95:1-5.
What else belongs to God according to these passages?
The land, the sea and its riches belong to God as well.
Why do these things belong to God?
Because He made them. What that means is that everything that God made, including us, belongs to God because He made us and has a rightful claim to us and all things.
What does that mean for the things that you believe are yours?
They all properly belong to God and are given to you as a gift to take care of. Consider a sculpture that you see at an art museum. The sculpture belongs to the artist who created it even though the particular sculpture is located in the museum and other people are taking care of it. In the same way, while we use and enjoy the things that we have, they all properly belong to God.
What does this mean for the way that we should treat our possessions and the possessions of others?
It means that we should treat them with a great deal of care and in accordance with God’s will and intention for them.
To use another analogy, imagine its your first time ever using a toaster. Seeing this strange contraption and not understanding what it does, you notice the two thin slots at the top and figure out that something is supposed to go in to those slots. So you begin looking around the room for things that might go into the toaster. Your eye catches a DVD you have sitting on the counter. Seeing that the DVD is small enough and thin enough to put into the toaster you place the disc in the slot and press down on the lever. What happens? The DVD melts and the toaster is ruined. In the same way, all that God has made was made with a purpose. It is our job as stewards to use these gifts carefully and according to the purpose, and when we don’t, things break.
For Your Reflection
Take a few moments, whether in small groups or with the whole group, and have the students make a list of five things that God has given them to take care of. Then with that list have them…
- Choose one item they could do a better job taking care of and explain how.
- Choose one item they feel they are doing a great job taking care of and explain how.
- Then take a moment to have them share those items with others in their group.
Close with Prayer
Gracious and giving Father, thank you for all your gifts. Help us all to take careful care of all you have made and to use all your blessings in the way that you would desire us to. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who redeemed us and made us Yours, Amen.