Book Review of “Everything Belongs to God: Christian Stewardship”
Everything Belongs to God: Christian Stewardship
by the Reverend Sophirina Sign
Africa Ministry Series (Discipleship Resources International, 2016) 175 pages
Everything Belongs to God brings a fresh perspective to the crowded marketplace of publications on stewardship. The author brings a unique African point of view on giving, which challenges our consumptive way of life in the Global North. Joy in giving shines through this inspiring book. It boldly addresses biblical “kingdom principles of giving” in lessons on such themes as motivation, potential, faithfulness, and sacrifice (14). Readers will be blessed by contemporary testimonies of God’s provision in a different cultural context. These deep insights apply cross-culturally to American and other contexts.
The Rev. Sophirina Sign is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and adjunct faculty member at Africa University. She has served in the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area as a pastor in charge for several circuits, school chaplain, Station Chairperson, and Connectional Ministries Director. Sign holds a Bachelor of Divinity degree and a Master of Theological Studies in Christian education and New Testament. She also served as a high school teacher. Sign is a founding member, and a current leader, of the Zimbabwe Publishing Team of Discipleship Resources International, a publishing ministry in the Central Conferences through the General Board of Discipleship Ministries.
God’s unconditional love initiates our response of giving (36). We may wonder why we don’t always willingly give from what we received. “The reason the heart responds in a negative way,” Sign explains, “is that we allow it to be dominated by external or physical things instead of by the Word of God” (13). Christian conversion enables us to become committed in church and daily life (21). God works through our ongoing process of discipleship and sanctification to bring fruitfulness (82). Love will “guide us to give all we can for promoting the growth and prosperity of the kingdom of God. It enables us to rejoice in giving” (36). We can actively share in “bringing life to the lifeless,” the work of the Holy Spirit through our participation in the church’s mission (127).
Sign brings a dynamic viewpoint to the conversation about tithing and stewardship. Tithing is “a privilege, not a law” since it is based on gratefulness in our relationship with God (44). The offering during worship is not “a means of raising money,” but rather “a system for giving glory to God for his concern for each individual” (70). Christian views of the stewardship of singleness, marriage, children, and care of the body are addressed with compassion (133-141). Challenging questions cause us to reflect on the state of our heart. Ultimately, we may ask ourselves, “Is my offering representative of the one perfect Gift, Jesus Christ?” (72). This book will provoke meaningful sharing among students from high school through adults.
As part of the stewardship commitment of Discipleship Resources International, proceeds of every book sold go to support publishing in the Africa Central Conferences.