How We Exercise Stewardship
Man was created to live as God’s steward. This calling lies upon every human being and is not to be a burden, but a delight. But what does this mean? Before reading, while reading, and after reading this article, ask yourself a few pointed questions. This is part of being a steward of what God has given us. I confess that at times I just read over words and do not take the time to pause and reflect on them so that they sink in, take root, and bring forth fruit in my life. Let’s be good stewards therefore and ponder these things.
The first principle we need to consider regarding stewardship is the reality that everything belongs to the Lord.
Psalm 24 tells us,
The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Failure to rightly grasp and believe this and to act in light of it will result in being an unprofitable steward. God made all things; everything that exists He owns. Your bike, your bank account, your body, every material thing, every living thing, every human and spirit being, every created entity, including time, is His. Therefore, God having placed us in authority under Him, we are to watch over and care for all these things as unto Him. This practically means, just as a servant would do, we treat them with care and use them in a way which returns the most profit to the Master.
Read again the first chapters of Genesis in light of this. God placed man at the center of all His creation to enjoy both this creation and God through it. This also means that our desire ought to be to bring glory to His name by our use of His creation. Our duty ranges from the whole world in which we live down to the little mundane matters of daily living. Even though sin entered the world, our calling to be stewards has not been changed. If a servant misuses and abuses the goods of his master, this does not change the obligation required from him. Therefore, what you throw out the window of your car indicates how you view your calling as a steward.
Stewardship is not simply about how we use our money; it goes much deeper than that. The issue of stewardship reaches our hearts. How we use our car, our house, our gifts of intellect and emotion, our time, and whatever else must all be decided in light of the question of how we are exercising stewardship over what we’ve been given. Are we using these things for the purpose of bringing further glory to our Creator and Lord, or do we simply live as if all these things are ours exclusively and we can do with them as we please? God has given us sufficient direction in His Word to guide us in our calling as stewards. We are to reflect our Lord in all that we do.
Jesus used several parables to highlight this call to be stewards. Read, for example, Matthew 25 and Luke 16-19. I want to point out just two of the many lessons they contain. First, we are not all given the same amount of things over which we are stewards. One has more than another; one is given twenty years of life while another has seventy; one has riches and another is poor. What is important, however, is that we recognize that God will hold us accountable for the gifts He has given, not for those that He has not given. Therefore, we ought to be content and seek to use and develop what He has put in our lives.
Secondly, our view of God and His gifts will influence how we live. Reflect on the fact that God is good and has given you just what He wants you to have. Through His grace, your calling is to use these gifts and multiply them for His glory.
So how are we faithful stewards? By living in the consciousness, that all things belong to God. He gave them to us to enjoy, and therefore we must seek to use them to bring glory in return to Him. Part of this includes realizing that we must give account of our stewardship to God, and that there is an eternal reward upon earthly stewardship. What a blessing if we will hear the Master say,
Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.Matt. 25:21
Let this be the end of your stewardship: when we have done all things, to consider ourselves unprofitable servants and consider that we stand in unison with the Servant of Jehovah, Jesus Christ, in whom we are accepted.