The SDA church’s teaching on “stewardship” is as follows:
We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellowmen, and by returning tithes and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices in the blessings that come to others as a result of his faithfulness.
This is pretty straightforward stuff, I think. Within the SDA church, the main manifestation of this doctrine is in the practice of tithing — giving 10% of one’s earnings to God (via giving it to the church). I strongly support this practice as a way of reminding ourselves that we don’t “own” everything; God owns everything and we are merely caretakers. I think that’s a healthy way to view money and resources. I do understand why some people are distrustful of churches and don’t want to tithe to a church, although I think if you’re going to be part of an organization you should support it financially, but I also think the people who choose to give 10% of their income to a charity of their choice are still tithing.
However, I also think the concept of stewardship is much broader than just tithing — and this is well covered in the Seventh-day Adventists Believe… chapter on the topic. One area I think is particularly important and underemphasized — not just by our church but by evangelical and conservative churches in general — is stewardship of the earth. Believing that we own the planet and can exploit everything on it at will is entirely unBiblical. God has given us this earth, not to abuse but to care for. While we might disagree and argue about the best and most sustainable practices for using the earth’s resources while caring for them properly, surely we can’t disagree that we are stewards and that sustainability and conservation should be our goals?
Well, let’s be honest — Christians can disagree about anything, so yeah, some will disagree with that. But I think it’s pretty plain.