When Christians talk about stewardship, they are often referring to money, tithing and financial balance sheets. Author George Haynes asks readers to expand their understanding of the concept, contending that God is generous and wants us to think bigger, not to focus so much on money but on how to physically and spiritually support each other and our environment. “Sorry, but God will not permit his magnificent, magnanimous, monumental goodness, mercy, love, and grace to be squeezed into such teeny-weeny, miniscule[sic] dimensions,” he writes. “When God gives, he gives everything. When God entrusts, he entrusts everything.”
In a short work combining pithy essays with reflections, exercises and discussion starters to help readers personally engage in the topic at hand, Stewardship abounds in solid advice and insight. Drawing inspiration from the opening chapters of Genesis and the Parable of the Talents, among other biblical stories, Haynes, a Lutheran pastor, argues that the primary purpose of being a good steward is to offer mercy and compassion to those around us; to praise God and appreciate gifts we have in terms of possessions, health and nature; and to give with a generous heart.
Haynes is a thoughtful and energetic writer. Although this is far from a perfect book—there are missing words, misspellings, too many exclamation points and confusing sentences (he writes, “When it comes to our giving, why don’t we Hallmark ss[sic] God does, instead of following practices like these.”)—the exuberant spirit at the heart of this book tends to compensate. His conversational style is warm, often funny, and it feels more like you’re talking to a highly caffeinated friend than reading a book.
Pastors, social justice advocates and those interested in a wider understanding of how to be a giving Christian may find Haynes’ flawed but earnest manual a quirky, helpful read.
Also available as an ebook.