What Is Stewardship?
“How would you define stewardship?” a team member asked. The rest of the team sat staring into space. As team leader, I felt challenged to find an answer. This was somewhat difficult for stewardship is one of those words we often use without knowing its precise meaning. So, I consulted the dictionary. To begin with, I discovered that stewardship is what a steward does. The American Heritage Dictionary states that a steward is a person who manages the life and assets of another. The Unger Bible Dictionary adds that historically, a steward is one that oversees the king’s substance and possessions as well as other various affairs.
It is in this context that the word “steward” appears frequently in the Old and New Testaments. Peter clarifies the scriptural role of a steward this way: “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 NIV)
Paul adds that believers are stewards of God’s gifts and grace. He says, “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.” (I Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV)
Paul affirms the Christians at Corinth for their dedicated stewardship: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work… Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving.” (II Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV)
As Christians, we are called to handle wisely the time, talents and treasure entrusted to us by our Creator. We are not to waste these assets (Luke 15:13), or hide them (Matthew 25), or appropriate them for our own use (Titus 1:7). Rather we are to invest them, share them, manage them to the glory of God. As individual believers or believers together, we are challenged to be good stewards practicing honest, joyful stewardship.
Written by Wayne Grant, Chairman of Stewardship Team