Introduction to Stewardship

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You may have heard in church that it is important to “be a good steward.” Don’t worry if you are unsure what that means. “Steward” is a word rarely used in our everyday conversations.

Let’s begin by defining what a steward is.

Nowadays, outside the church context, the word “steward” is commonly used to describe the position of a person who works on a ship or airplane. Their job is to keep the passengers safe and ensure everything is in order for a safe and enjoyable trip.

However, in the Bible, when we are told to be a good steward, we are not told to sign up as a flight attendant or housekeeping staff on a boat. The word “steward” translated from the Greek most closely correlates to a “manager.” In fact, many Bible translations now use the term “manager.” The managers mentioned in Scripture were often like managers in today’s world – overseeing accounts, households, and businesses. So, whenever we see the word “steward,” we can replace it with the biblical synonym, manager.

Now, a manager is someone who is given the responsibility to take care of something on behalf of someone else; in our case, we are managers of the life and gifts God has given us. We have been made stewards of the things of the earth such as relationships, money, and tangible things. But the most precious thing we steward as God’s servants is God’s kingdom—which means we are called to be “good managers of the grace of God.”

As disciples of Jesus, this relates to the way we live that should honor God’s image in us. This image of God is everything Jesus showed us: kindness, compassion, love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, justice, truth, courage, faith. Sounds daunting, but just remember that this is a lifelong journey, and as long as we are pursuing all this, we will get there. That makes for a good manager.

Today, I want to invite you to think about this from a big picture kind of perspective. When we are good stewards, not only do we build ourselves up but also others. When we take good care of our relationships, time, finances, and spiritual wellness, we live the life we are meant to live and contribute to our shared success.

For example, why do we support the church, and what difference does the church make in my life? From my experience, it is because of the church, the people in the church, that I grew up in a healthy environment and became a good honest man. Can you put a price on that? No, because you can’t buy it, it is something that has been nurtured over many years. Also, it is because of the church that I met my wife and have my beautiful children. It is because of the church that I have so many significant relationships with people. It is because of the church that I made good decisions in my life and overcame the times when I did not or was going through a difficult time. Without the church, without you, I would not be what I am. So, can you wonder with me, what would it be of our children, grandchildren without the church?

I know we have always loved children, whether ours or Day School or kids in the community. And even if we do not have children of our own or they may live in a different place now, we are still nurturing young lives in the same way.

I joke telling people, “You better be raising good daughters because I am raising good sons!” My thought for saying this is that my sons are being raised to be good husbands—if they marry, of course. I am doing my part, so do yours.

I can keep on going, but I trust I get my point across. If you have wondered what difference does the church make you need to look at the big picture. Often, we only see what is immediately happening and we think that there is not much going on. But there is. Good stewardship is not about instant gratification but a legacy. That is why when we are good stewards of what God has entrusted us, we are not only making a difference today, but we are contributing to our future success.

So, as we talk about stewardship, this will be a great time to do self-reflection about how we invest ourselves in this world and what kind of legacy we are leaving behind through people and stuff—relationships, money, time, faith, and so on.