In Webster’s dictionary, development is defined as: “a gradual unfolding, or growth, evolution.” We know from Scripture that God has chosen to use men to accomplish some of His work on earth as He unfolds His plan for mankind. For example, consider the situation in which King Asa found himself in 2 Chronicles 14 when Zerah, the King of Ethiopia, came to attack Asa’s kingdom. Asa was greatly outnumbered by Zerah. Understanding the situation, the Bible states, “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee” (2 Chronicles 14:11).
Two phrases in verse 11 reveal Asa’s understanding of God and his responsibility to do something about the situation in which he found himself. Notice first, “For we rest on thee.” Asa understood that the battle was the Lord’s, and so, by faith, he was completely dependent on God for his success. Secondly, “And in thy name we go against this multitude.” Asa put feet to his faith. In dependence upon God, he moved forward into battle, fulfilling his leadership responsibility. The result was, “So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled (14:12).” God accomplished His work through men.
Understanding how God works and believing that God has a plan for Maranatha, and that God will accomplish His plan by using men, we adopt the following as a philosophy for the Department of Development and Stewardship Services. The Administrative Team believes that God is moving the university forward, and as He does so, our dependence is on Him as we willingly go forth in the work. Our dependence is manifested three ways. First, through prayer: by petitioning God for wisdom to know His will. Second, through expectation: that is, by faith in God and His Word, we believe God is accomplishing His will through us, and so we should see fruit in our ministry. And finally, by thanksgiving: we express our gratitude, thus declaring our dependence on the Lord. So we can say, as did King Asa, “We rest on thee.”
In complete dependence upon God, we then must go forth in His name. There are four important activities in which the Department of Development must be engaged. First, through an educational process, we must learn what the institutional needs are, define them within the context of our purpose, and then learn the acceptable methods of seeing the needs met. This will be an ongoing process as the Lord unfolds His development plan.
The second activity is communication. Having identified the needs, we must communicate them to our constituency and friends, recognizing that these are opportunities for God to show His power as He provides through His people. Our communication is a crucial link to God’s people to help them discern the will of God regarding their personal stewardship of that which God has entrusted to their care.
The third activity is exhortation. Through Biblical teaching and preaching on the subject of stewardship, we can help God’s people use their material wealth to advance the cause of Christ. We have a biblical responsibility to do this. The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). In other words, God’s people are to use their wealth to further the work of God with eternity in view. How one cares for and uses his wealth is greatly determined by his forward-looking perspective. If one’s mindset is like that of a certain rich fool of whom Jesus spoke, (“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” -Luke 12:19), he will focus on spending his wealth on selfish pleasures during the time he has left in this life. On the other hand, if one has the eternal perspective Jesus taught us we should have, (“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” -Matthew 6:20), then one will invest his earthly treasure regularly in that which counts for eternity. Even Christian people battle their selfish nature, and thus, the need for exhortation.
The fourth activity is coordination. The development team at Maranatha stands ready to assist those who seek to exercise biblical stewardship by sharing opportunities and options that benefit the individual and that help the university. By coordinating expert professional help, the resources of the development staff, the needs of Maranatha, and the desires and abilities of God’s people, we can watch God accomplish His work through man, as He unfolds His plans before our eyes, “To the Praise of His Glory!”