9.  Stewardship

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”       (1 Cor. 4:1, 2)


Stewardship Defined

Webster’s Dictionary:       One who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs.

Greek       3623 oikonomos {oy-kon-om'-os}
from 3624 and the base of 3551; TDNT - 5:149,674; n m AV - steward 8, chamberlain 1, governor 1; 10 1) the manager of household or of household affairs 1a) esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age 1b) the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer 1c) the superintendent of the city's finances, the treasurer of a city (or of treasurers or quaestors of kings) 2) metaph. the apostles and other Christian teachers and bishops and overseers.


Who provides the stewardship?

God is the rightful owner of it all:
The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”       (Psalms 24:1)

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”       (1 Cor. 4:7)

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.”       (Mat. 25:14,15)

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”       (1Cor. 2:12)


What are we stewards of?

Ideally all that we are and all that we have are the Lord’s. It has been given to our care to watch over and develop according to the Lord’s will and purpose to the glory of God in Christ Jesus.       (1Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.)

The predominant thought for today is that when we speak of stewardship money rises to the forefront. Sadly, this is not what scripture teaches. Money is one aspect of what we are stewards of but it is not the primary.       (1Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”)

We are stewards of our actions:
“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”       (Tit. 1:7-9)

“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”       (Rom. 8:10)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”       (Gal. 5:22, 23)

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”       (2 Cor. 7:1)

We are stewards of our possessions:
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he   also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.”       (Mat. 25:16-18)

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”       (Acts 5:4)

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”      
(Prov. 3:9)

We are stewards over spiritual things:
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”       (1 Cor. 4:1)

All of 1 Corinthians 12
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”       (1 Peter 5:2, 3)

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”       (1 Tim 4:12)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”       (Eph. 6:17)

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”       (Gal. 6:8)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”       (2 Tim. 2:15)

We will be held accountable

We will be held accountable for our stewardship of the gifts that God has given us. Our efforts towards our responsibility as stewards will one day be evaluated. Take a look at the passages below.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”       ( Mat. 12:36)

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”       (Rom. 14:11, 12)

“Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”       (1 Cor. 3:13-15)

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”       (Heb. 13:17)

“Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”       (1 Peter 4:5)


We will be rewarded

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”       (1 Cor. 9:25)

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”       (2 Tim. 4:7, 8)

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”       (James 1:12)

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”       (Revelation 2:10)

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”       (1 Peter 5:4)

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”       (Rev. 3:11)


In Conclusion

Tithing is merely one aspect of our stewardship. If our lives are surrendered to Christ, tithing is not an issue. People can become bound by the percentage, or the amount. Jesus explained how he evaluates our actions in Matthew 6:1-4 and Mark 12:41-44. Jesus places it in perspective in His rebuke of the Pharisees.

 In Matthew 23:23, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and umin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Never forget Paul’s admonition in 2 Cor. 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”  And so let our lives exemplify that of people serving the Lord with a heart filled with Joy.


Food for thought

What have you learned about stewardship that you may not have already known?

Do you see a correlation between stewardship and servanthood?

Can you think of an aspect stewardship in your life?