I remember reading, in one of the old books in my personal library, that stewardship is the practice of the Christian religion. It is not man’s plan for raising money, but for rearing God’s children.
Where did this conception of stewardship come from and what does it mean?
In New Testament times a steward held a position of honor and dignity. The word itself comes from two words meaning “House Manager.” It was a position of responsibility and trust. Wealthy people found it advantageous and necessary to employ staff to manage their estates and their servants. A lot of responsibility was given to the steward and the owner looked to the him for results.
The steward was not the owner and any profit accrued from the operation of the estate belonged to the owner, not the steward.
The steward also was not a tenant, who paid a certain portion as rental of the property leaving him with the balance of the receipts. Jesus never spoke of tenancy as the idea in a Christian’s relation to God, but always as stewardship, where all property belongs to God. Man is entrusted with the administration of the things God has committed to him for his use.
We are workmen in God’s vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), under His command. We are never able enough to put God under obligation to us. Whatever God does for us is by His grace. Nothing can take the place of obedience to God’s commands.
The early Christians in their gratitude to God set an example in stewardship which has been the inspiration of all Christians since that day.
The generosity of the Christians under the compulsion of love far surpassed anything known among the Jews under the compulsion of law. They not only gave the tithe but many times more. This boundless and open-handed generosity attracted the attention of the pagan world and was influential in winning of converts.
- God owns everything. We do not have any absolute rights to ownership of anything, but we hold possessions “in trust” for God. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
- After giving God His rightful part–a tithe from our “first fruits”–we are to give in proportion to how God has blessed us, no matter what our income is. This refers to spiritual as well as material blessings.
- We give generously to those in need. This giving will be a testimony to others who will glorify God.
- From the early days in the Old Testament, God’s people have come to worship bringing gifts. So giving is a form of worship. Do not come to church empty-handed, but bring your gift to God.
I generated this site so that I may be a good steward of my time left on this earth.