Warning: ‘Stewardship’ is NOT valued in our culture. People will think you are weird when you talk about it. Good!
‘Stewardship’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot. However, what does stewardship really mean? What does stewardship look like in our everyday lives? How does one become a good steward? I’m going to cover some basics. Hopefully, it will help you get started or reinforce your current role as a good steward.
The dictionary defines ‘Stewardship’ as; the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc. The Bible states that we are not ‘owners’ but managers of material things that God has placed in our charge (see Matthew 25:14-30 & Psalm 24:1). If you believe you own ‘stuff’, I ask you one simple question; “What happens to the ‘stuff’ when you die?” You cannot take ‘stuff’ with you. When one of the wealthiest men in world died, someone asked his accountant, ‘How much money did John D. Rockefeller leave behind?” His accountant replied, “All of it!”
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7)
Where does this leave you and me?
We are faced with two undeniable truths. One is our impending mortality (death). The second is we actually don’t ‘own’ anything. When we die, someone else gets our ‘stuff’. Therefore, we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that we are actually ‘managers’. Here is what I have learned. Once I surrendered to the fact that I was not an ‘owner’ of material resources, peace ensued. Why? The reason is I have stopped wrestling with two major facts, death and the illusion of ownership. Mortality is like gravity. Gravity wins every time. It’s a law. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, in light of mortality how should I respond? The answer is, the same way we respond to gravity. Accept it and learn ways in which it helps us live and thrive.
What does stewardship look like?
When I ask myself this question, I am forced to look at where I spend my time, money and talents. Am I spending it all on myself and my ambitions? How much am I giving away? I am not perfect by any stretch, far from it. However, stewardship is not something you ‘do’. It is something you ‘live’. Does anyone come to mind when you think about stewardship? Start there!
How do I become a good steward?
First, open your bank statement and see where your money is spent. Are you spending it on ‘stuff’ that will end up on a trash heap? Are you spending more money than you take in? Second, keep a record for a week of how you are spending your time. Are you spending more time trying to get more ‘stuff’ or newer ‘stuff’? Or, are you investing your time in relationships? Third, are you sharing your knowledge and experience with anyone else or investing your skills to help a cause greater than yourself? I become a good steward by practicing stewardship.
Stewardship is a lifestyle. By practicing good stewardship, we can impact our society and economy for good.
Here are some resources to help you get started up the road of Stewardship
Book: The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
1 Corinthians 4:2
1 Corinthians 6:20