What is Christian Stewardship?
Since this blog is all about Christian stewardship, I believe that it's time for me to elaborate a bit on this concept.
There are three guiding principles underlying Christian stewardship: ownership, responsibility, and reward.
Principle of Ownership
The Bible tells us repeatedly that God owns absolutely everything because He created it all.
"The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who live in it."
"For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God."
"Who has been first to give to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the entire heaven is Mine."
"But who am I and who are my people that we should [a]be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given to You."
1 Chronicles 29:14
While it's fine for us to talk about owning things ourselves in daily parlance, which was done throughout scripture (e.g., 1 John 3:17; Proverbs 3:9; Luke 12:33), we must remember that, ultimately, our possessions, gifts, abilities, talents, etc., and our very selves all belong to God.
Principle of Responsibility
The New Testament word translated as steward is 'oikonomos', which means 'household manager'. God has seen fit to entrust us with caring for the parts of His creation that He has given to us. And He expects us to be trustworthy, wise, and hardworking.
"In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy."
1 Cor. 4:2
The name of this blog is taken from Luke 12:42: "And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?"
We are working with God in furthering His kingdom, and literally all that we do should be done with this in mind. This includes everything from managing our money to brushing our teeth to giving to those around us who are in need.
"For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building."
1 Cor. 3:9
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God."
1 Cor. 10:31
We have all been given different gifts, including spiritual gifts, material gifts, talents, abilities, and others. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the master gave different numbers of talents to different servants, and they were held accountable for how they managed what they were given. The one to whom five talents had been given was rewarded just the same as the one to whom only two talents had been given because both stewarded them well.
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons."
1 Cor. 12:4-6
"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the multifaceted grace of God."
1 Pet. 4:10
Also from the parable of the talents, we learn that merely holding on to what God has given to us is bad stewardship. The steward who did this was called 'lazy' and 'worthless'. God expects us to work diligently toward growing our gifts, though it is He who will give the increase in His own timing.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going."
"Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether one or the other will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good."
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth."
1 Cor. 3:6-7
Principle of Reward
Christ will judge believers' stewardship and reward those who have been faithful in caring for what they have been given.
"The one who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and the one who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous in much."
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."
"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."
1 Tim. 6:17-19
The entire Christian life is about stewardship, that is, making good use of all that God has given to us. And the driving force behind this stewardship should be love, love for God and love for others.
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may [a]glory, but do not have love, it does me no good."
1 Cor. 13:1-3