Stewardship IS the Christian Life
The word “stewardship” is often misunderstood and misused. There are many reasons for this, not the least being that it’s an old-fashioned word we rarely use in everyday conversations. Mostly we see this word used in the Church, but sadly it’s almost always associated with raising money, a short-sighted view of its real meaning. We need a better and more accurate definition of this word because its purpose has profound implications for every Christian.
I ran across a church's website recently advertising an upcoming service titled, Stewardship Sunday 2019. I cringed a little as I read the headline. A picture of a pastor pleading came to mind. I felt both sad and frustrated.
Stewardship is more than giving!
Part of the reason we misunderstand stewardship is that we've experienced events and programs like these, through which stewardship is wrongly portrayed as the act of giving money. Stewardship is more than giving. When you reduce stewardship to just giving money, you lessen the transformational power it can have in a person's life.
Stewards not Owners
The true meaning of stewardship is grounded in relationship. God created man with a purpose. In Genesis 1, we read that God created the earth and then formed man and gave him charge over everything he placed on the earth. He then met with Adam daily.
God's desire from the beginning was to have a relationship with us. Through that relationship, God, as the owner, and we, as stewards, work together to accomplish God's will. Stewardship is not just us doing things for God. It's God with us, doing things together that are part of His plan for creation and mankind.
Stewardship is our ongoing acceptance of this invitation to partner with God in everything he wants to do. It's using our time, our abilities, and our resource, including money, to do good works; something God planned for us before He created the world.
Are you a good steward?
Whether someone is a steward or not is not the question. Everyone is a steward if they've accepted God's invitation to be in relationship with him. The only issue is whether they are a good steward or a bad steward.
Three qualities of a good steward
The test of a good steward is whether he accepts that he owns nothing and consistently refuses to take control and possession of that which has been entrusted to him.
"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:33
A good steward avoids waste and seeks to increase his Master's goods.
"There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods." Luke 16:1
“And I say to you make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they will receive you into an everlasting home.” Luke 16:9
A good steward is loyal. He only serves the true Master.
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Stewardship is the Christian Life
Everything Jesus did as we view his life through the Gospels, points to stewardship.
He possessed nothing yet continually gave everything he had.
He finished his work and accomplished the Father's will; providing for our salvation.
He humbled himself before God and remained obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Stewardship is the Christian Life. It's the one word that ultimately defines our role and purpose as we seek to please our Master.
How has your understanding of stewardship changed?
How does the knowledge that you are a steward impact your decisions and actions?
What, if anything, do you need to do different?