What Does It Mean To Be A Steward?
Stewardship is the responsibility of a person to manage, look after, take care of, supervise, arrange and manage someone else’s wealth (money and possessions). A just steward is characterized by being “faithful”—meaning that he wisely and responsibly managed that which was put into his care. On the contrary, an unjust steward is characterized by being “unfaithful”—meaning that he unwisely and irresponsibly managed that which was put into his care. Biblical stewardship starts with understanding “God’s ownership” and “believers’ management” from the Biblical point of view.
- Ownership is the act, state or right of possessing something. A “steward” needs to know who the “owner” is. As believers, we recognize God as the owner of everything and we are His managers.
- God is the owner because He is the Creator of everything and repeatedly claims sovereign ownership over everything that He has created; therefore, He is the owner of everything. He never ceases to be the owner over anything that He has created.
Genesis 1:1; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 24:1; 50:10-12; 1 Chronicles 29:11-14; Job 41:11; Haggai 2:8
- God is the owner because He is the Redeemer of all who trust in Him. We are not our own for we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus. As believers, we recognize this fact and yield not only our bodies, but our whole lives, including our money and possessions to God. We concluded: “Everything I have belongs to God, not me.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- Management is the process, responsibility and administration of controlling the wealth (money and possessions) of another. A “steward” needs to know what the “owner” has entrusted to him. As believers, we recognize that everything thing we posses is God’s and it is our responsibility to manage it according to His will.
- Managing what God has given us is a limited opportunity (we only have one life), an unpredictable finish (we don’t know when it will end) and we will be held accountable (will we be found faithful). This is seen in a parable Jesus told of a certain rich man which had a steward. The steward was guilty of wasting the rich man’s goods. The rich man confronted the steward about this and told him to give an account of his stewardship (to settle the accounts).
- Managing what God has given us means to use it wisely. In the same parable, the steward used the remaining time he had to settle the accounts with his master’s debtors. But he knew he didn’t have any friends and wouldn’t have a place to go after he lost his job, so he discounted their debts so that they would be favorable to him and receive him into their houses when he lost his job. His boss might have been outwitted by his steward’s actions, but he praised him for acting with great practical wisdom. Jesus then tells us that unbelievers are often more wise about taking care of their earthly wealth than believers are about their heavenly wealth—meaning that believers need to have greater foresight and wisdom about their stewardship.
- Believers are to manage what God has given them with strategic foresight. Just like the man in the parable shrewdly used his master’s wealth to “make friends” who would in return receive him into their houses when he needed it, we as believers are also called to do the same but with a heavenly focus. By faithfully and wisely using the means of “unrighteous wealth (earthly wealth)”—meaning by properly using our money and possessions here on earth that God has entrusted us with according to His will, we not only glorify God but also accumulate eternal rewards in heaven.
- We are to invest in souls. One of the ways that God wants us to use our money and possessions is by investing it into the work of God and gospel ministry that sees souls saved (make friends). Then when we arrive in heaven (everlasting habitations) those who were influence by our “investments into the work of God” will be there to receive or welcome us.
- We are to invest in true riches—treasures in heaven. Our focus is towards heaven, thus we are working to lay up treasures in heaven and not material wealth here on earth. All earthly treasure will one day be ruined, but heavenly treasure will last forever.
Luke12:33; 16:11; 18:22; Matthew 6:19-20
- If you are a believer, then you are also a steward of everything that God has given you. God has entrusted you with money and possessions here on this earth and your are responsible to be faithful stewards of them. It starts with being faithful with the little you have—meaning stewardship isn’t just for those who are rich, but it is for every believer and it includes everything you have no matter how much or how little. Therefore, the problem is not “how much do we have,” but “what are we doing with what we do have?” If we are unfaithful with our worldly wealth then how can we expect God to bless us with true riches? Have you been faithful in that which is God’s—all your money and possessions?
- If you are a believer, then you are also a servant of God—not money. Only one can be your master. The more that you love and are devoted to money the more you will hate and despise God—your fellowship with God will be hindered. Therefore, believers are called to have an unwavering faithfulness to love and be devoted to God (which results in hating and despising the idolatrous place of money in our lives). The way to serve God rather than money (mammon) is to faithfully use our money and possessions for the work of God and to serve others as the Bible commands. This means that we recognize: (1) God as the Owner of everything; (2) we are called to manage everything that God has given us; (3) we are committed to being stewards of unwavering faithfulness.
- What is stewardship?
- Who owns everything—including your money and possessions?
- What are believers supposed to manage?
- How much do I have to have to be a Christian Steward?
- What is strategic foresight and unwavering faithfulness?