Stewardship is one of the more challenging principles of New Testament Christianity, not because it is difficult to understand but because of the all-encompassing nature of its application. Everything we have is entrusted to our care and must be utilized responsibly. Such a reality should humble us and compel us to give determined attention to discharging our responsibilities as faithfully as possible. This begins with a proper understanding of stewardship in general.
First, stewardship involves measurability. In the parable of the talents Jesus said the talents were given to the servants “each according to his own ability” (Matt. 25:15). God blesses people with a variety of different abilities, opportunities, and responsibilities and we much each use what we have to His glory. Whether one, five, or ten talents, “as each one has received” (1 Pet. 4:10) so we must use.
Second, stewardship involves responsibility. Stewards in the ancient world were entrusted with the care of their master’s property. Consequently, reliability, trustworthiness, and integrity were required characteristics for each one. Our requirements as stewards are no different. Paul said,
“…Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful”
(1 Cor. 4:1-2). Responsible stewards recognize that they are entrusted with things that belong to God, and regularly consider whether or not they are fulfilling their duties in the best way possible.
Third, stewardship involves accountability. Ultimately, every steward will account to the Master for how he has managed the Master’s goods. The stewardship parables clearly emphasize this point as do a number of other passages throughout God’s Word. The Hebrews writer said,
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account”
(Heb. 4:13). The word “account” has to do with providing an explanation, a reckoning, or giving a record of assets and liabilities. We are all accountable to the Master for how we use His goods.
Stewardship is a challenging and humbling concept. Losing sight of our responsibility to faithfully use what God has given us proves easy in the hustle and bustle of life. As we consider our blessings, may we feel compelled to discharge our duties as faithfully as possible, to the glory of our great God.