When I think of stewardship, I think of The Lord of the Rings. If you don’t understand where I’m getting this from, hang tight for a small crash course on Middle Earth politics. In the land of Gondor, the descendants of the past King were absent and a Steward was set to take care of the kingdom. Though he did not have the same authority of the King, the Steward was able to govern the realm in the same capacity. In the same way that the Steward of Gondor was using the King’s resources to preserve the Kingdom, we Christians can also steward to not only preserve the Kingdom of God, but to further it. For this discussion, I will mainly be talking about financial stewardship.
After coming off of our week on justice, I was curious to see how exactly to utilize what I possessed in order to increase the Kingdom of God. I was especially interested in how my finances would affect the injustice in the world since I would be starting a paid internship with an engineering firm in the Fall semester. During this week of learning, one idea stuck to my brain: giving generously.
Giving has always been a hard topic to discuss growing up. Both my Mom and Dad grew up in poverty in both Malaysia and Hong Kong respectively and would always tell me to be prudent with how much to spend and what to spend it on. When it came to giving from my own paycheck, my parents adamantly opposed me giving money away. A proverb they told me constantly was to “live like a poor person”. Although I was taught to hold on to my money tightly, I saw how God was calling his people to give generously and to live simply. Seeing that, I decided that with my upcoming internship, I needed to allow God to have more control over my finances.
As an Asian American Christian, the issue of obeying God’s call to stewardship and honoring my parents would prove to be difficult. It seemed like if I obeyed God’s call to give, I would be dishonoring my parents and if I honored my parent’s wishes to withhold my finances, I would be disobeying God. After talking to different people and praying to God, I formulated a simple budget in which I would both honor God and my parents.
The basic principles of my budget are to save money, give generously, and live simply. I’m planning on saving 50% of my budget so that my parents will be honored. 30% will be given in the form of tithing and other forms of giving (donations to charities). 10% will be sent back to my parents. 7-8% will be used for necessities such as food, transportation, and clothing. 2-3% will be free to use how I wish (Rent is covered by company). By cutting down on what I don’t need and reducing what I need already, I am able to give more while still honoring my parents by saving and sending money to them.
Stewardship is not an isolated act, but a continual act of dependence on the Lord. My first day as an intern will require me to walk faithfully with God as I leave SAUP and enter into a new chapter of my life. Though this budget is not perfect, my hope is it will, as well as my whole life, be more indicative of God’s love for the world.