The Star Book for Stewardship
The Star Book forStewardship by Clifford A. Jones Sr. describes itself as a “call forpractical biblical integrity to give contributions in honor of God as Creator.”(from the Preface) The most helpful aspects of this book are indeed itsbiblical resources and its practical sermon starters and teaching guides. Fromthe beginning, however, it is clear that for Jones, stewardship is alwaysunderstood in relationship to tithing. While Jones does approach the theologyof being a steward, that all belongs to God and we are charged to care for it,he emphasizes tithing as the chief expression of giving and stewardship. Thebook aims to show pastors how to move people from membership to discipleship tostewardship (tithing) and beyond tithing.
The opening chapter is titled “Biblical Foundations forStewardship,” and offers one of the most comprehensive surveys of tithing inthe scriptures. Beginning with the Genesis and winding all the way through theentire New Testament, Jones traces the history of tithing. He writes at theopening, “Holy Scripture provides the basis for giving and is the standard foranalyzing the authenticity of written stewardship material.” (1) His approach toscripture reflects this primacy of biblical authority, and he appeals tobiblical authority in all his claims about stewardship (instead of relevance,prayer, reason, church tradition, transformational experiences, or othersources of inspiration and authority). This biblical review would be helpful fora pastor looking for new strategies for preaching about tithing, especiallythose who share Jones’ emphasis on biblical authority.
The book proceeds with short chapters on “PracticingChristian Stewardship” and “The Church as Steward.” These chapters are adequatesurveys of the topics, but these subjects have been addressed by other authorswith much greater depth and insight.
The entire second half of the book is dedicated to anenormous quantity of resources for preaching and teaching. The resources aregrouped in two categories: “From Membership to Discipleship,” and “FromDiscipleship to Stewardship.” Again emphasizing the authority of the biblicaltext, Jones offers monthly scripture-based meditations each of these themes,which could serve as resources for teaching or written articles. He then offersmore than 20 sermon starters on these themes. The final section also includessample personal testimonies and words for use at the offering time during worship.
The Star Book ofStewardship is not a complete guide to everything needed for a church inits stewardship endeavors. However, it would be a helpful resource for pastorsjust beginning their ministry and searching for inspiration in preaching andteaching on stewardship. It might also help more experienced pastors looking tobroaden their repertoire with new scriptures on stewardship themes.