Stewardship is a word that is not used often outside of Christian circles. It usually means that the church is initiating a funding drive for the new fellowship wing or some other cause. However, stewardship should not be exclusively about giving.
Stewardship is Management
A steward is basically a manager. This idea acknowledges that as believers, we do not ultimately own anything. Everything that we claim as “ours” was given by God and, in the end, will revert back to Him.
We are under the obligation to manage what we have received. We do not manage it for ourselves; we are simply stewards of God’s gifts. They are His and we should not treat his things any way we want. We must use them as He would have us use them.
Being a Good Steward of Our Finances
Surely, money and wealth is one of the things that God has provided. We should be good stewards of what God has given. Money can’t be spent as we please. We shouldn’t, as Christians, take the popular attitude, “I have worked hard for my money and I will spend it as I see fit.”
Believers should be aware that they do not work to earn money or to please men; they work to please God. With God as our employer, we do the things He directs us to do. Often that is to seek employment in a certain career field or to start some type of business enterprise.
Faithfulness in these endeavors often produces wealth. Perhaps, I am mincing words here, but it is not the job or business that brings the gain. The money is given by God. It is not ours, but His.
We can use the money to buy houses and cars and things we enjoy, but even those should be justified as the things that God would want us to have to continue His purposes. We should not view our home as our castle, but as the place that God has given us to show hospitality to others, a place where we can rest and be refreshed, and a place where we can shut out the world and commune with God.
For some, that may be the large house on a hill overlooking a lake and steps away from the golf course. For others this may be a studio apartment in a high rise. God provides different gifts to each of us and we should be content with what He has given us. As good stewards, we should be grateful for what He has provided, take care of it, and manage it well. The principle in scripture is that to those who have much, more will be given. God rewards us with more when we take good care of what we have.
A Parable on Stewardship
In Mt 25: 14-30, a parable is told that a\describes the qualities of a good steward. A man was a master over three stewards to whom he entrusted talents. The word “talent” is not used as we would today to mean a skill or ability, it is a measure of money, a large amount of money. To one, the master gave five talents; to another, he gave two talents;
Upon returning from a long journey, the master settled his accounts with the three stewards. The first two both doubled the amount they had been given and were commended. The third steward did not invest or manage the master’s money well. He dug a hole and buried the money and gave it back to the master when he returned. He was condemned as being lazy because he did not manage well what he was given.
Here’s what I think we should learn from this parable:
- Not all are given the same amount – Some are given much; some are given little. But all, are responsible for the amount they are given.
- We honor God by being faithful with what He provides – A steward can’t simply sit on his provision. He must put it to work to increase what he is given for God’s glory.
- Finally, we will be rewarded or chastised according how well we have taken care of our allotment – God rewards our stewardship with more, but He condemns anyone who is irresponsible with His provision.
Even though, this post has spoken only about money and wealth, we should be cognizant of the fact that money and material things are only part of what God provides. God will hold us accountable for how we manage other kinds of talents as well. He gives other gifts, such as, time, natural abilities, and health. These are also distributed in varying amounts amongst His people, and we are responsible for taking care of them and using them well.