What Does the Bible Teach About Stewardship?

by Dr. Michael L. Williams · Print Print · Email Email

One thing that you can always count on during an election season is a debate about government spending. One candidate promises that they will spend money on just about anything anyone could want while another candidate promises that they will stop the runaway government spending. In the end, no matter who gets elected, more money is spent on things that no one needs in a way that no one cares. Unfortunately, sooner or later arithmetic catches up and years of poor stewardship come back to haunt people who never had anything to do with the stewardship to begin with. To understand God’s perspective it is important to look at God’s Word to learn what does the Bible teach about stewardship?

What is the common definition of stewardship?

Stewardship is commonly defined as: The office, duties, and obligations of steward. The conducting, supervising, or managing of something. The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care (1). Simply stated, stewardship is what we do to manage something that has been placed under our responsibility.

What Does the Bible Teach About Stewardship

What does the Bible define as a steward?

The Bible gives us several examples of stewards, or those who have stewardship over something. In Genesis 15:2 we see a man by the name of Eliezer of Damascus who was the steward of Abram, or Abraham. In Genesis 43:19-44 we see the steward of Joseph carrying out the commands of Joseph in testing Joseph’s brothers to see if they would deceive their father again. In 1 Chronicles 28:1, David called a great assembly that included the stewards that had oversight over everything that belonged to the king and his sons.

We see from these references that stewards were trusted by their masters to oversee and manage everything the masters had, including their own families in some cases. This teaches us that a steward must be someone that can be trusted to care for things that were important or dear to their masters. Given the magnitude of this responsibility, stewards were often treated like members of the master’s family as they performed a great service, or ministry, in the master’s household.

As Christians, what is included in stewardship?

Most of the time when we think of stewardship we think of overseeing money or other things we own. Jesus described an unfaithful steward that wasted his master’s money in Luke 16:1-3. In this passage, the master wanted to audit how the money was being managed. When the steward realized what was going to happen, he called the people who owed his master money. He asked each one how much they owed then told them to write down a number that was smaller than the full amount. In doing so, he wasted his master’s treasure. These verses demonstrate that God wants us to be faithful stewards over the treasure that He has given us.

In Ephesians 5:15-17 the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” These verses demonstrate that God has also given us stewardship over the time He has given us.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, we are told that God has placed each one of us in His church with specific roles. These diverse roles work together for the purpose of caring and supporting one another. Ephesians 4:11-16 teaches that these roles demonstrate that God has given us stewardship over the talents He has given us.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Consider this

As believers, stewardship of our treasure, time, and talents shows the importance we place on sharing what God has given us with others for their benefit. This creates a fertile relationship to share the message of Christ. Since we only have a limited amount of time on this earth, using our time wisely, along with wise management of our treasure and talents demonstrates to God our love for Him (2 Timothy 2:1-10; 1 John 4:19).

In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 we are taught how our stewardship and willingness to give of what we have for the benefit of others should come from our heart, not the pressure to give by others. We should also keep in mind that when it is God’s will, He makes a way. He is the ultimate source of wisdom and provision for managing treasure, talent, and time. When we sacrificially give, God makes up the difference in providing for our needs as well as the wisdom to be good stewards. Finally, nowhere in scripture do we find that giving should be motivated by what we will receive in return. Therefore, exercising faithful stewardship demonstrates our love for God and our neighbor.

Summary

Stewardship is what we do to manage something that has been placed under our responsibility. The Bible teaches that a steward must be someone that can be trusted to care for things that are important or dear to their master. Stewardship includes wise management of our treasure, time, and talents so that we can use these things in service of the Lord for the benefit of others. Exercising faithful stewardship demonstrates our love for God and our neighbor.

Here is something else to consider about stewardship: Christian Stewardship Advice

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. (1) Merriam Webster (2015). “Stewardship”. Retrieved from Merriam Webster online dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stewardship

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