Adult Education Lesson On Stewardship of Life
Goal: To begin to lay the foundation upon which we as Christians will be able to articulate a statement about stewardship of life.
Objectives: 1. To look at life as lived in covenant and lived out in stewardship.
2. To look at definitions of eternal life as they apply to life on this earth and beyond.
Crabtree, Harriet. 1994. The Christian Life: Traditional Metaphors and Contemporary Theologies. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress.
Hall, Douglas J. 1991. The Steward: A Biblical Symbol Come of Age. Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Press.
Israel, Martin. 1993. Life Eternal: Is Death the End. Boston: Cowley Publications.
Rogers, John P. ed. 1988. Medical Ethics, Human Choices: A Christian Perspective. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press.
Shannon, Thomas A. and James L. Walter. 1990. The Quality of Life . New York: Paulist Press.
Smeades, Lewis. 1987. Mere Morality: What God Expects From Ordinary People. Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Press.
Theology of Covenant
* Covenant informs the entire Biblical story and is perhaps the most basic of the doctrinal understandings that have evolved from the Biblical foundations of faith.
* Harriet Crabtree - Stewardship is the “via nova,” the believers whole life as a response to the revelation of divine truth.
Biblical Development of Stewardship
* There are over twenty-five direct references to the steward and stewardship in the Bible.
* Isaiah 22 gives us the image of being stewards of what God has given us. Here we begin to move from taking care of the affairs of this earth.
* Stewardship is a Christology - Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-31.
Faithfulness and Responsibility
* Douglas Hall - The disciples are charged with responsibility for Christ’s household. The disciples are warned that stewards are not autonomous (Luke 12:41-48)
* The Church is a stewardship community.
* A good steward is always willing to hand back that which was entrusted to him/her, even our life.
* Put ones affairs in order. Speak with family and friends about end of life.
Life is a Gift and a Loan
* Harriet Crabtree - Christians should understand that God is the owner of all that exists, once through creation and once through redemption.
* We could define life as a gift and claim our right to do with it as we see fit or we can view it as loan placed in our care as stewards by God. There is the notion that it is both since God gives us the gift of deciding how to treat life and then we are called (but not required because of freewill) to return our life for God’s purpose.
Danger in Using the Idea of Stewardship
* Harriet Crabtree - Most stewardship writers compartmentalize life in order to render it to a usable program of stewardship. If a person follows one of these “blueprints,” one could develop a false sense of security and of being in control.
* Used correctly it fosters an attitude of responsibility and of learning about the choices to be made and making those choices.
* Class discussion - “what does the term “eternal life” mean and what does it say to us as Christians?
* Martin Israel - The moment we begin life is also the moment it starts to end. We are all moving toward our eventual transition. If we are wise we accept this, if we are sensible we prepare for it now.
* Reformed Theology teaches that death is the instant when the mortal body is shed and a new consciousness assumes control.
* Martin Israel - Eternal life is more than the survival of the personality after death. It is a state of growth into the fullness of being.
* I John 4:18 - Perfect love banishes fear.
* In both life and death we belong to God.
* Putting our affairs in order is part of being a good steward.
* Eternal life is ongoing, not an
event that occurs when the earthly body dies.