Stewardship is one of those old, churchy words that does not seem to get thrown around much outside of church. You don’t hear it talked about out in our everyday lives. It is however, a word that is full of meaning and purpose and we should really consider what it means and how it should affect us in our daily lives.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines stewardship as “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” This definition hits the nail right on the head. A steward is a manager of someone else’s resources.
The biblical foundation for stewardship recognizes that everything we have comes from God and, consequently, we’re responsible to care for all God has entrusted with us. We find this directly in the book of 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Although stewardship is often connected with money, there is much more for us to manage in our lives beyond the financial realm. Stewardship comes down to doing the right things with what we’ve been given. Whether its money, time, relationships, or the environment, the key is to make thoughtful decisions rooted in biblical wisdom.
Our ability to be responsible managers is utterly dependent on God’s guidance. We need His wisdom to navigate the many competing opinions swirling around how we use our finances, how we spend our days, how we approach our relationships with others, and how we care for the environment in which we all live. We need practical advice for balancing and budgeting these gifts God has given us. After all, how we manage the things in our care demonstrates our faithfulness to God’s mission and kingdom.
Whether we like it or not, we are not nearly as important or as successful as we often think we are. Everything we have ever had, currently have, or ever will have, is a gift from God. Maybe if we remember this we will treat the things we have more as a gift and less like our property. Everything we have will be gone someday, but how we handle these gifts God has chosen to give us, will determine the kind of life we will live and the person we are. Let’s treat our things for what they really are, a gift. Let’s concentrate on trying to be good stewards. Let’s use these gifts we have been given to help others when we can. Let’s make a difference in our communities and in the world. Let’s pass on some of the gifts and not just keep them for ourselves.
They say that through giving, we will experience a level of joy that we could never experience if we keep it all to ourselves. I for one want to experience that level of joy daily. Do you?