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Stewardship ‒ what is it?

Stewardship

Stewardship seems to be one of those topics bandied about frequently in Christian culture, but seldom with proper understanding. Having a right understanding of what stewardship is and how it applies to our lives will change the way we make decisions each day.

If we truly understand what it means to be a good steward, our lives will show it. Like all other Biblical principles, good stewardship brings tremendous blessings.

Let’s define the term “stewardship.”

One of the better definitions of stewardship I have found is this: (1) The office, duties, and obligations of a steward. (2) The conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.

The term “management” implies that the steward plays an active role in the  decision-making and responsibilities of his office. This would indicate that God expects us to actively manage the resources He has given us.

So what are we stewards of?

Stewardship applies to everything God gives us. Time, money, gifts and abilities, families and relationships; all are God-given. The Scriptures hold a lot of good stewardship passages, but the parable of the talents clearly shows us what God expects regarding stewardship.

How should “stewardship living” affect our lives?

Our finances tend to be the key area that people refer to when speaking of stewardship. I think the reason is that money is often one of the most difficult things for people to give. We tend to find it easier to give of our energy, time, or abilities, but find it harder to give away money. This is probably why Christ used finances as material for teaching eternal truths more than any other topic.

One truth that can help us keep a proper focus is that we came into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing. We begin to look at all our possessions as merely being “on loan.” This will help us begin to see ourselves more as a “steward” rather than a “possessor.” When we think of our possessions in this manner, we soon realize that having possessions isn’t a good or bad thing, it just needs to be in the proper perspective.

Stewardship is mentioned in the Bible many times. The basic message is that God has entrusted us with things here on earth and it is our responsibility to use them for His glory.

—Steve Yoder, CAM Foundation staff member