The Meaning of Stewardship
What does stewardship mean? Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines it as follows:
Stewardship: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
When we act in the role of steward it means that we have been entrusted with something that does not belong to us. For instance, if you loan your car to me, both you and I would expect that I would take very good care of your vehicle. You may permit me to use it. However, you would expect me to take care of it and return it in substantially the same condition it was when you loaned it to me. This is an example of stewardship.
How then does this concept of stewardship apply to us as Christians? First, and foremost, we are to understand that everything belongs to God! God is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. He created the universe, our world, all aspects of nature, including us. Life only happens when God decides that it is to happen. Simply stated, the doctrine of stewardship, as taught by Christ, means that our money, every penny, comes from God. Thus, a person’s duty is to return as much as possible during his lifetime. Yes, God has made us stewards of everything we possess! Not only our money, but our time, our breath, our very life, all that we have – has been given to us by God.
Life is a gift from God. All that we have in this life is part of that gift. Stewardship reinforces this belief and reminds us that our time, talents, and resources are the gifts through which we show our love and appreciation to God.
What does Stewardship mean to us then?
What should all of this mean to us? The following list of statements are all different, each explaining the meaning of stewardship in a unique manner. They are all, however, valid, since they contain the essential elements of service and faith.
1. Christian Stewardship is our commitment to the giving of our time, talent, and material possessions. These are a trust from God to be used in His name for the benefit of all mankind in grateful acknowledgement of Christ’s redeeming love.
2. Stewardship is being a responsible and concerned caretaker of Christ’s Church. It is also learning how to enjoy Church life and be happy in Church work.
3. Stewardship is the caring for the needs of one another.
4. Stewardship is offering of one’s self as Christ gave His life for us.
5. Stewardship is what a person does after saying “I Believe”, as proof of that belief.
6. Stewardship is being devoted and totally committed to serve God and His Church morally, spiritually, physically, and financially as an individual and collectively as a family unit.
Stewardship is more than giving money, it is giving time and skills and prayer and thought to the church. It is more than giving to the Church; it is giving to all the good causes that will help bring salvation to the world. It also includes the way we earn our money and the ways we spend it. Good stewardship means budgeting our time and energy and attention to evangelize the world; it means analyzing life’s priorities and counting costs; it means being aware that some day we shall have to give an account of ourselves before God. If that day were today, would we hear from God,
“Well done thou good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of thy Lord”:
“Thou wicked and slothful servant… [be ye thrown] into outer darkness: [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The choice is ours and ours alone!
May God’s name be glorified in us, and may His blessings be upon us!