By Ted Camp, SWM
What is Stewardship? A steward is the manager and overseer of another’s property and possessions. Stewardship is using, managing, controlling, and investing all resources (time, money, talent, gifts, skills, abilities) of another’s property and possesions. God gives His people for the glory of God and the benefit of mankind. It is being willing to take what God has given you and using it for His glory. What is your talent, ability, gifts or skills? Are you willing to use them for the Glory of God?
Old Testament Stewardship
Stewardship fills the pages of the Old Testament. Often, stewardship is thought of only in terms of finances, but the Bible teaches that stewardship is a far greater concept, involving how we respond with all of our life to Him, who is the giver and sustainer of life. When God created humans, He made them to
have “dominion” over all of the earth (Genesis 1:26). Dominion was not intended to be domination or exploitation. Dominion was God’s call for human beings to be good and gracious managers of God’s creation. Unfortunately, the sin of humanity changed God’s plans for His world. Humankind became selfish, seeing the world as a means to its own self-centered ends. The things of the world were now seen as possessions with humans as owners, not as God’s stewards. God’s intention for His world did not change. He still desired that people see God as the Lord of everything and themselves as the managers of God’s creation. Noah had the ability to build an ark, Moses used a rod and Joshua was a captain and all were used in different ways for the Lord. God only wants you to do what you can. He does not ask you to do anything that you cannot do.
New Testament Stewardship
The call to absolute commitment to Christ is the central theme of the New Testament (Mark 8:34-36). Jesus asked for obedience to God’s original intention for the world. Jesus was calling for a radical reversal of the world’s values (profit) and a revolutionary return to God’s purpose (lose life for My sake). Jesus never seemed to be satisfied with a slice of the pie of our obedience. He did not rejoice in the tithe or a big offering as much as He did in the sacrificial, complete giving of a widow. but Jesus called all disciples to absolute surrender of themselves and their substance to Him. The early church certainly saw all that it had as a gift from God for the good of each other. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32). John the Baptist was a voice, Dorcas used a needle and thread to sew clothes, Paul went to the Gentiles, Peter pastored the Jews and the little lad gave two fishes and five loaves of bread. Each was willing to do what they could. God can use all people for His glory. It does not matter about their race, age or handicap. The early Christians had a loving and giving attitude of their possessions. They saw none of it as their own. All of it came from the loving heart of God. That is why the sin of selfishness of Ananias and Sapphira was so serious (Acts 5). The apostle Paul preached and taught a single-minded commitment to Christ. He reminded the Philippians that the source of thanksgiving was not in things but in our relationship to God in Christ (Philippians 3:13-14). Thus, the New Testament concept of stewardship centers in our commitment to Jesus Christ. When He becomes our Lord, He becomes Lord of our time, talents, finances, and everything. We realize that we are not our own, but we are bought with a price. Are you willing to do what you can for Christ? (Holman Bible Dictionary-Charles Bugg).
Credits: These lessons were taught in churches and edited for SWM ministry.
Pastor Erwin Robertson – Capitol City Baptist Church – Holt, Michigan
Deaf Leader Troy Peterson – Maranatha Baptist Church – Yorktown, Virginia
By Ted Camp, SWM
A steward is the manager and overseer
of another’s property and possessions.
A good steward (servant) will wisely use and invest
from what he has been given to produce an increase for his master.
The Lord will reward according to his works.
Much Work – Much Reward = Little Work – Little Reward
“Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6).
“Every man shall receive according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
“And shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:12).
“I will render to the man according to his work” (Proverbs 24:29).
“… he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).
Bible Example of Stewardship
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first (plan),
and counteth the cost (needs), whether he have sufficient to finish it (wisdom)?
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation (begin task),
and is not able to finish it (left undone), all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish (Why?)”
– Luke 14:28-30
The steward had ability and means to build the tower, but it was not finished. He did not follow through with his one task. Notice the unfinished tower is mentioned but not the other things that sidetracked him from the tower. At first he was probably excited, but eventually left it undone. Why? Because of wrong priorities, neglect, or work behavior. He probably was not lazy but just unorganized. His intentions were good, but he did not follow through until it was finished. He did not plan to fail, he just neglected the tower. The unfinished tower brought shame.
Neglect and procrastination are terrible twins that produce nothing. The master could never say to this steward, “Well Done my good and faithful servant!” This story teaches the importance of one main task instead of several unimportant tasks. A good steward learns to be faithful in all areas of their ministry. All tasks given by the Lord are vital and important. It is easy to have a major task buried in the mess on the desk. You need to manage your ministry so you will be more productive in your tower areas. When the Lord sees you doing His tasks then He invests in you more and so will others. When you ask your son to clean his room, he may do other things, but you want to see the room cleaned as you requested. Partial obedience is still disobedience. “Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38). As you produce, the Lord helps you prosper so you can produce more fruit. This teaches the importance of finished tasks. Don’t break the cycle. Do your part and God will do His. The tower was the main task, but other things got the priority. The one thing was left undone.
When the Lord wants a tower, build Him a tower!
When the Lord wants an ark, build Him an ark!
Has God given you some towers or arks? Are they left undone?
Do not substitute your towers with trivial tasks.
When you touch it – Do it!
Finish your God-given towers and tasks!