“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. – Psalm 50:7-12.
Stewardship is a familiar subject in church today. But while it is often talked about, I’m not sure people fully understand the concept. But when we fully grasp the idea of stewardship, it will change the way we make decisions each day. If we really understand what it means to be good stewards, we will begin to see our lives change. Because like all Biblical principles, there is tremendous benefit gained by following them.
The dictionary defines stewardship like this: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care <stewardship of natural resources>
Notice that it says “managing of something.” We all have things we manage. We all have things we are responsible for. And we all make decisions about those things. So what are those “things?” Basically, we are stewards over everything God has given us. Our time, our money, our gifts and abilities, our influence, it all comes from God. There are references to stewardship throughout the Bible, including the Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30) In this well-known parable, the good stewards took “risks” and action in order to multiply what they had been given. The bad steward was risk averse and was called lazy.
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.
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 said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:20-22)
Finances tend to be the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about stewardship. That makes sense, because money is one of the most difficult things to give. Many people are okay giving their time, or sharing their abilities, but money provides security and is harder to part with. The reality is we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. 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 being generous with the things God has given us to steward.
Stewardship can seem daunting. After all, being managers of our families, possessions, the earth and builders of a kingdom puts a lot on our plate. But remember, God promises us that He’ll never require something of us that we cannot accomplish. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed”(2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB).
- Would you say you are generously giving or generously living? Why?
- What is your biggest motivation for giving?
- Where do you think you are most gifted by God?
- What are you doing to develop your areas of giftedness so you can better serve others?
- What are some specific examples of where you have seen God bless when you have invested your time, talents, and treasures?