Stewardship is something that I hear a lot of talk about, but not a lot of understanding. I truly believe that understanding what stewardship is and how it applies to our lives will change the way we make decisions each day. If we really understand what it means to be good stewards, we will begin to not only see our lives change, but also the world around us. Like all other Biblical principles, tremendous benefit is gained by following them.
The definition of Christian stewardship
Lets look at the actual definition of stewardship.
1: the office, duties, and obligations of a steward
2: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something ; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care <stewardship of our natural resources>
I like how it says “managing of something.” To me this implies that we have decisions to make and are responsible for that which we are stewards over. Just like a manager of business is responsible for his/her department and employees, so we are with all that has been entrusted to us.
So what are we actually stewards over?
Personally, I believe it applies to everything we have been given. Our time, our money, our God given gifts and abilities, our influence, it all comes from God. There are lots of stewardship verses that show us how we should act, but my favorite is the Parable of the Talents since it gives such a great illustration of what a good steward does. Put simply, the good stewards were the ones who took “risks” and action in order to multiply what they had been given. The bad steward was the one who out of fear decided not to take a risk and was called lazy as well.
This reminds me of another scripture…
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
How should “stewardship living” affect our lives?
Our finances tend to be the key area that people refer to when speaking of stewardship. I think the main reason is that often money is one of the most difficult things for people to give. At least for me that used to be the case. I was okay giving my energy, time, or sharing my abilities, but money was not something that I was interested in giving away. That is probably why God had to work on me for so long to help me lose my attitude! 😉
One of the things that helped me was keeping focus on the fact that I came into the world with nothing and would leave with nothing. I began to look at all my possessions as merely being “on loan.” This has helped me begin to see myself more as a “steward” rather than a “possessor”.
Stewardship of a violin
I remember a friend of mine saying that he was talking to a well-known violinist about his violin. The violinist had mentioned that the violin was a couple hundred years old and worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The interesting point I remember from the conversation was the way the violinist viewed himself as a steward of the instrument. He knew that many great musicians had played the instrument before he was even born. He was also not naive to think that he would be the last to play the fine instrument. He understood that it was just temporarily passing through his hands.
The violinist’s outlook on his violin has really helped me get a better understanding of the role possessions should have in my life. Changing my thinking in this way has affected how I handle my money and even my weekly buying decisions. It’s not that having possessions is a good or bad thing, just that it needs to be in the proper perspective.