“Steward” is not a word you hear people use often in the world. But in the church we know it well. Or do we? We may know it means “manager of a household.” But do we understand the depths that stewardship reaches?
The depth of stewardship is so great because it begins with the lord of the household. The master of the household is the Creator Himself, God. Amazingly enough, He has put things in our hands to manage, over which to be stewards. He has given us these as gifts to care for:
1) Our Souls—He is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9), so we must care for this precious gift that will be the only thing we take into eternity. “We brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7). It is our responsibility to grow, making our souls fit for heaven (2 Peter 1:3-11; Colossians 1:12).
2) Our Talents—God has given each of us at least one talent, most of us more (Matthew 25:14-30). We have been given what we need to accomplish God’s tasks in this world. Our problem is often we hide out talents under the bushel—possibly out of fear, sometimes out of laziness or lack of faith. Use it or lose it! If we multiply our efforts, God will multiply our talents!
3) Our Brethren—How are you a steward of your brethren? Are they not a part of your household? God’s church is a household. We are all members of this family. Thus, we have an obligation to one another. God expects us to care for one another as good stewards. “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). “By love serve one another” (Ephesians 4:16). Encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:24) “Love one another fervently” (I Peter 1:22). Restore one another. (Galatians 6:1) Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16). Comfort one another (I Thessalonians 4:18). “Be ye kind one to another, forgiving one another…” (Ephesians 4:32). Work together (Philippians 1:27). Never should we say “I have no need of thee” (I Corinthians 12:21) for we are all members one of another and should care one for another (I Corinthians 12:25).
4) Our Time—God gives us all 24 hours in a day to manage. When it is gone, we can’t get it back. Jesus said we work while it is day for the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4). Time is a balancing act, isn’t it? It reminds me of the plate juggler who used to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. He would spin plates on sticks. In no time he would find himself running back and forth, endeavoring to keep all the plates spinning in the air at once. Maybe you feel like me—when I’m smiling because I’ve gotten all my plates spinning at the same time, some joker gives me a whole new set to spin! Time is a gift we must use for good—but look at all the good things we have to do! So our task becomes one of prioritizing—deciding what needs to be done first, second, and so on. Our faith should remind us of our mission—to please our God (John 8:29) and that He will give us the strength we need. Like the famous mountaineer, we should strive to “die climbing.”
5) Our Family—Not only are we stewards of God’s family, we are stewards of our personal families. Sadly, our nation and schools are suffering because parents have abandoned their responsibilities. Families make up the tapestry of a country and ours is unraveling because Dad is not acting as the spiritual leader of his home and Mom is not “keeping” her home as first priority (Titus 2:5). Our families need fathers who love mothers and are obeyed by their children (Ephesians 5:25; 6:1). We need mothers who love and honor fathers and who love and teach their children good things (Titus 2:4). Family stewards will see that God is worshipped regularly, Jesus Christ is followed daily, the Spirit is honored when the word He revealed is studied. Are our fathers setting the house rules, holding family devotionals, and working hard so his family’s needs are met? Are they talking to them about the vital things in life when they rise up and when they lie down? (Deuteronomy 6:7) Are we as mothers feeding our families, clothing them, keeping a home our husband or children would be proud to bring their friends to? Are we praying with, singing to, reading to, talking to our kids as well? We can change the world through the children we raise. What a stewardship!
6) Our Possessions—Everything we have is God’s (I Corinthians 10:24; Haggai 2:8). We own nothing; we are simply the stewards of it. How are you managing your possessions, your money? You cannot be a wasteful Christian; yet at the same time you must be a generous Christian (2 Corinthians 8:9).
7) The Gospel—I feel such astonishment every time I consider the fact that God has allowed us to be the stewards of the Good News. To be the earthen vessels who carry the greatest story ever told—we should give thanks! And we should never forget our responsibilities as His stewards with the gospel—“stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10).
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Luke 12:42-43