This is a good question to ask yourself. The Bible says that someone who is faithful with a little thing will be faithful with much (Luke 16:9-11). So, if we are honest and do the right thing when no one is looking, we will be able to be trusted when people are looking.
Stewards are mentioned in the Bible quite a bit actually (you can read more about stewardship verses.) The basic message that I have gotten from the Bible about being a good steward is that God has entrusted me with things down here on earth and it is my responsibility to do something good with them.
Being a good steward
Realize that God owns it all
It can be easy to forget that God create the world we live in and us as well. He created the air we breathe, the sun that warms the earth, and plants and animals for food. He is the one that gave us our brains to think, he placed different gifts and skills in each one of us, and gave us each unique personalities.
It is only because of His great mercy that he doesn’t just prove to me how dependent I am on Him, when I start to think I really accomplished something on my own 😉 . As we understand that, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” (Psalm 24:1) we can see that we are merely temporary possessors (or stewards) of things that He owns.
We are born with nothing and we take nothing with us when we leave. It all just gets passed on to someone else. The amazing thing is that we have the opportunity to “store up for ourselves treasures in heaven” by giving some of those items that we temporarily possess down here.
Stewards can only serve one master
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
I have found from my own life that my decisions about money reflect who I am serving. At the most stingy and greedy moments of my life it was painfully evident who my master was. I tried to convince myself that I was serving God, but in truth my decisions were made on their financial impact rather than on my faith in God. It’s one of those areas that we will all have room to grow in.
I remember patting myself on the back after an act of generosity that I was proud of, only to be shown, moments later, of two other areas of my life that I was being greedy in. It’s humbling, but it is also encouraging to know that we will never “arrive” and that God doesn’t expect that of us. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He knows what we are capable of and while I earnestly want to please Him, I am so thankful for his forgiveness when I mess up.
Use resources wisely
As stewards we have a responsibility to use what we have been given wisely. Just like in the parable of the talents, it is up to us how we use what we have been given. We can choose to bury it like the “lazy” steward or we can make more from what we have been given like the “good” stewards.
As far as managing our finances go, there is a tricky balance between not being wasteful like Jesus talks about in John 6:12 and not living with a poverty mindset. It is easy to fall towards one of the extremes, and it is challenging to walk in the balance. That balance is what we should be seeking in the practical areas of being stewards of our finances.
The great thing is that as we prove ourselves faithful in small things we will be given more and bigger things to be stewards over.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”
What lessons have you learned about being a steward?