I think we are all probably familiar with Jesus’ views of stewardship: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to who much has been committed, of him they will ask more” (Luke 12:48b). A steward is a manager, someone who is given responsibility and oversight and who answers to his master. Just about everyone is a steward over something; even little children are given responsibilities suitable to their age and maturity.
God loves to delegate responsibility, so it must be good for our souls. He is the kind of Father who doesn’t mind entrusting valuable things into the hands of His children.This stewardship is built right into the universe He made. He gives us a piece of dirt, and we can’t hide the results from the neighbors. He gives us children, and they grow up for all the world to see. He gives us relationships to steward (for better or worse), time to spend (to invest or waste), opportunities (to take or to miss), stuff (to share or hoard), money to manage (for profit or loss), talents to share (for ourselves or for others), and even commits the gospel into our hands (to proclaim or hush up).
This is quite amazing when you stop to think about it, and it can even seem overwhelming. We can never make full use of all our gifts or appreciate our families as much as we should or give a good account of every dollar we spend or feel sure that we use all of our time wisely. And what of our opportunities to proclaim Christ to the world? In all of these things He will call us to give an account. So even though we cannot steward these things as well as we should, we can have a view of what it means to be a steward. How are we doing with those responsibilities God has given us? For just one example, how are you stewarding your marriage? Are you taking every opportunity to appreciate your husband? Or what if you aren’t yet married? Are you stewarding your time to the glory of God? Will you look back on these years and be thankful for all you squeezed into them?
How will our stewardship of these things stand up to God’s scrutiny when we are called to give an account? It’s possible to be given a “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But this is only possible if we are deliberately mindful of our stewardship, even over the bad and hard things. Even afflictions can be used to turn a profit when we understand that God is in all this with us and nothings can be done apart from His good grace. We could sit around feeling sorry for ourselves that we haven’t been good steward, but what a waste of perfectly good time!
Here’s the good news. When we are all called to give that account to our Maker, we can’t hide in a closet or under a load of guilt or bury ourselves in excuses. But we can be found in Christ. He is the perfect Steward. He used His time, His gifts, His opportunities, His relationships, His money, and He gave His own self perfectly, and I am in Him. Standing in Him, I can ask for wisdom and help to steward faithfully what He has given me. Not of myself. But with gratitude to God.