What Is Stewardship and How Can You Excel at It?
Looking around at the world today, it sometimes seems that the question of ‘what is stewardship’ has more to do with its very existence than the basic definition. Even though stewardship is a quality that’s innate to Christianity, it seems some people are overlooking their spiritual duties. In many cases, though, people simply don’t understand what this duty entails.
Where is Stewardship Found in the Bible?
Stewardship describes the responsibility of taking care of or supervising something. In the Bible, the word directly references taking care of God’s household (the earth). This makes it an important directive for Christians. It’s so important, in fact, that responsibility is mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible. This means the quality holds a central place in the lives of Christians.
Considering how important this Christian obligation is, it’s scary to think that many are losing sight of what constitutes good stewardship. The word holds power in far more places than just volunteering and fundraising. Consider some of these important biblical verses that tell us what is stewardship, why it’s important, and our duty to abide by its tenants.
- Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10).
- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23).
- This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).
A search for biblical verses on stewardship, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the most important stories in the Good Book do more to show us what stewardship means than any single verse. In particular, Joseph’s story shows us just how important this spiritual quality really is.
Even after going through troubles with his siblings, spending time in jail, and having issues with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph remained a good steward. In the end, this put him at the top of Egyptian society working directly with the Pharaoh.
This story of upholding responsibility even in the face of countless trials shows just how powerful a virtue stewardship really is – along with the rewards that are granted.
What is Stewardship in the Bible?
The meaning of stewardship extends much further than its basic definition. In fact, there are four guiding principles to this divine quality. Each of these are critical for ensuring we’re successful at achieving our biblical duty every day. The following four principles tell us that – in our duty as God’s servants – we’re in a position of trust.
Once that trust is fulfilled, we will be rewarded.
Stewardship as Ownership
The first steward of God’s household was Adam. Since that time, the responsibility of administering God’s resources and continuing his work has fallen upon us. As such, we must each recognize that everything we encounter in this life belongs to God. Even we as stewards belong to Him. While many have created wealth with their own hands, it was God who first gave them those hands.
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (Deuteronomy 8:18).
Stewardship as Responsibility
Since we know that God owns everything, we inherently understand that that which is given must be cared for in the best interest of God. This could include anything from fulfilling our duties as a parent to giving back to church donors to let them know they’re valued. We must always sustain God’s resources as he wishes. This makes it our responsibility to educate ourselves in his work and will.
Stewardship as Accountability
What is stewardship without accountability? We cannot be responsible for what God has bestowed upon us if we’re not held to account for how we manage what’s been given. A day will come when every decision we’ve ever made is revealed and judged at the Gates of Heaven. At that point, it will fall upon us to explain how we lived up to the trust that God placed in us.
Good stewards are always authentic and confident in their actions as a manager of God’s resources. If you were chosen to lead a ministry, did you ensure its continued sustainability by engaging your flock and through effective church fundraising? As a steward of your home, did you make sure every decision was led by the Lord? Accountability for these issues is integral.
Stewardship as Reward
As an excellent steward of God’s household himself, Paul was able to give powerful advice on the importance of stewardship:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
The reward for honest and faithful stewardship to the Lord is immeasurable by human standards. Although achieving that reward should not be our driving motivation, it is still joyful to recognize that God notices our actions and loves our devotion to excellent service. Our reward for stewardship will be immense and last for all eternity.
How to Be Better Stewards of God’s Resources
Stewardship isn’t something that we can just perform once and be done with. It’s a constant and daily action that Christians must take. Some of the Lord’s chosen leaders – such as Professor Paul Stevens – even believe that we’re all ministers of God and thus constant stewards in our everyday lives.
You’re likely now wondering just how you can incorporate the duty of stewardship into your daily routine. The following steps will help:
Be mindful of God’s gifts. God has given us the ability to serve him. Through this duty, we receive the immense good that comes from devoting ourselves to selfless service. Take the time to reflect upon this blessing. Remain conscious that doing God’s work is a privilege.
Give just to give. We must focus on things like donor segmentation, increasing tithing and effectively using the resources provided to us, but these aren’t the only things that should hold our attention. While it’s good to know that our work has measurable results, it’s important to remember that the reward for giving is giving itself.
Speak for the voiceless. Every creature – whether great or small – resides within God’s household. Every one of them have needs, but some are unable to request God’s resources on their own. Whether human or animal, it’s important to be attentive to the needs of all God’s creations and fight discrimination.
No matter the hardship, always trust in God. We are stewards of God’s resources, but we are also among those resources. This means divine help is always present. We’ll face difficulties, but take comfort in the fact that God is generous. He will provide. Look to Jesus’ suffering to see the ultimate hardship, yet it was faced without wavering from devout stewardship. It’s our responsibility to do the same.
Everyone can live up to these actions, so we’re all capable of nurturing and displaying good stewardship.
What is Stewardship? It’s a Biblical Directive
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” This means that we must prove faithful to the trust that has been placed in us. It’s not necessary to answer the question of ‘what is stewardship’ in order to be a good steward. The truth is that faithful and great stewards exist in each of our souls. It’s our responsibility to allow God’s grace to shine through us.