A Sunday School teacher gave a bunch of stickers to each of her students. The stickers read, "This belongs to Jesus". They were to place the stickers on everything at home that they owned such as radios, bicycles, roller blades, etc. These stickers were to remind them that all of these things actually belonged to Jesus and to encourage them to use them in ways pleasing to Jesus.
This understanding of ownership is crucial to our understanding of what it means to be faithful stewards. As stewards, we acknowledge that who we are and what we have are gifts from God. God's Word tells us that nothing actually belongs to us. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein..." (Psalm 24:1). Granted, it is difficult to remember that God really owns everything, because we work hard for our incomes. We have sweated and toiled in our jobs and focused energy on our careers which has allowed many of us to increase our net worth. But the truth is that we came into the world with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. Only for a short time that God gives us on this earth will we have posession of a few things. These posessions belonged to somebody before us, and they will belong to others after us.
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we live on are gifts we enjoy out of the overflow of God's love. The love of God, the gift of God's Son, Jesus, the forgiveness of sins, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and life eternal are gifts to us from God.
This understanding that all of life is a gift and that God owns everything prompts a shift in our understanding of stewardship. We no longer see stewardship as just acts of giving. Through faith, we see stewardship as faithfully receiving and taking care of all that God entrusts to us. What a privelege it is to enjoy, use, and manage what belongs to God.
What if we as adults were given that same sticker exercise as the Sunday school students? How many of us would put stickers on the money in our purses or wallets to show that God is the owner of our money? How many of us would put stickers on our calendars to show that this time belongs to Jesus? Everything ultimately belongs to God. It isn't the other way around at all. We only think it is.