If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service,
you could not give Him anything that
was not in a sense His own already.
– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
When we hear the word “stewardship”, especially in church, it’s more often than not associated with money. When the concept was first introduced, there was not, to my knowledge, any form of
Stewardship is established in the opening chapters of Genesis when it was granted to Adam and Eve. God called them to take dominion over the earth. This was not an instruction to conquer and oppress; it was not a command to rule over God’s creation like a tyrant. Adam and Eve were asked to take dominion – to care for – all that He had given them. They were being asked to tend to it and reflect God’s character in the way they treated it. They were to act obediently on His behalf as His administrators on earth.
When thought about that way, stewardship is a much broader concept – it’s a commitment of everyone’s resources to God’s service. Everything we are and everything we have is His – we’re just helping to care for it.
This past Wednesday in Bible Study we read through the Parable of the Talents. In it, three servants are each given talents (one talent is roughly equivalent to 16 years’ worth of labor) according to their ability. Two of them used their talents and multiplied them while the third buried his. When the master came back, he called the servants before him to learn what they had done. He was pleased with the first two who had taken the talents and acted on his behalf, so he gave them more to manage. The third servant was chastised. Even though the master was gone, he expected the servant to use the money in a way that was pleasing to him. Since he had not, the talent was taken from the servant and he was banished from the house.
This parable demonstrates that, in the end, we need to be able to account for all the gifts we have been given by God, having used them with the principles He laid forth. The gifts include things like time, money, and abilities. We are expected to use our gifts in a manner that pleases God and grow them for His glory – but He allows us to decide how we do that. As children of God, we should be constantly examining ourselves to ensure we are living in such a way that we are eager to give our accounts to him, longing to hear the words Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:23