The lesson began by participants articulating in their own words the meaning of the word "stewardship" as they understood it. Most definitions included: manager of something, trustee over something, and taking care of something.
Then the facilitator, Rev. Margaret Minnicks asked participant to write down and then share three things that they were stewards over. The common answers were steward over myself, my family, and my finances.
The main discussion was based on Psalm 24:1 that says:
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."
The point of the entire lesson is that God owns everything, and everything we have belongs to God. It is that He allows us to use those things that He has entrusted unto us. Mismanaging them institutes poor stewardship while giving things the utmost care institutes good stewardship.
Stressing the importance that stewardship goes beyond tithing, participants took a survey that included things they had been taking for granted that were really examples of poor or good stewardship.
Since stewardship does involve tithing, here are a few things participants were reminded about tithing:
- We pay tithes (minimum 10%) while we give offerings (as God leads us).
- Tithing should be prepared in advance instead of holding up the tithes and offering plates for church members to write a check or get their money ready.
- If you go to a different church on a Sunday, what you give is an offering to that church, but you must bring your tithes back to your own church.
- If you missed tithing one Sunday, you should pay your tithes with interest the following Sunday. According to Leviticus 27:30-31, the interest is 5%.
- The question came up about people who get a monthly social security check. How should they pay tithes since they get paid monthly? To be consistent with your tithes, simply put aside the tithes for each week by dividing your check into fourths so you can still pay your tithes weekly.
- Should you tithe on money received from birthdays and other occasions? The answer is yes. Ideally, one should tithe a tenth on everything received.
- Can helping someone with their mortgage or groceries be considered as your tithes? No, that's carrying out the command to offer help to those in need. A tithe is what is brought into the storehouse so the kingdom of God can continue.
The group concluded that while we try hard to give and give generously, we often fall short when it comes to giving from birthday gifts and adding interest on those Sundays when we didn't tithe.
Needless to say, the group is enjoying discussing things they can't discuss during a Sunday morning service.
Next week lesson is on "Relationships: Getting Along With God and Others."