Stewardship is a responsibility God gave humanity from the very beginning of creation. In Genesis 1 & 2, God makes your role clear: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28).
God owns it all, but He also entrusts you with His creation. Stewardship is about exercising your God-given role as a caretaker and co-ruler of creation. But what does that look like?
The Parable of the Talents
Jesus gave a picture of how we are to relate to the things we have in this life.
Jesus loved to teach through parables and stories to illustrate spiritual concepts. In the Sermon on the Mount, He gives a poignant picture of true stewardship.
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the story of a man who entrusts his money to three servants. He doesn’t split the money equally three ways, but instead gives them each an amount based on their ability to steward it.
Two of the servants immediately get to work trading and doubling what their master had given them. The third servant hid what he had been given. When their master returned, he was pleased with his servants who doubled his money, praising them for being faithful to use what he gave them.
However, he was very displeased with the third servant who hid the money out of fear. This servant had failed to be faithful to the best interests of his master.
This story reveals four helpful truths:
1. It all belongs to God.
In the parable, the servants are stewarding what belongs to someone else, and this is a picture of your reality. Nothing that you own really belongs to you–not your finances, your gifts and abilities, your job, or your kids. It was all given to you by God. This is reiterated all throughout the Bible in verses like,
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
God created it all, and He sustains it all. But He entrusts it to you.
What would change in your life if you stopped seeing yourself as an owner of your finances, but a steward?
2. You’ve been entrusted with a lot.
When God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He intended for them to multiply and take advantage of all that He had given them. God’s intention is for humanity to take what is raw and incomplete and make something out of it.
You may be thinking, if everything belongs to God, how am I supposed to know how to manage it? Do I need to ask God about every single decision I make? Like, God what should I wear today? Should I pay for this extra side of guac with my Chipotle bowl?
But this is not the picture of the parable gives.
In the parable, the master gave to each servant, but then he went away.
He didn’t stay around to micromanage or even leave them with detailed instructions on what they should do with his money. He gave resources and then stepped away, leaving them to use their own wisdom and discernment.
What if I don’t know what to do?
Chances are you’ve been in a situation where you were unsure of what God wanted you to do with resources you had.
“IT’S EASIER TO STEER A MOVING CAR THAN A PARKED ONE.”
In those times, it’s often helpful to start doing something. Have a willing heart to go where God leads, but if you don’t know what direction He’s leading, start doing something and let God direct you as you move.
Just like the master in the story, God often doesn’t give you a three-step plan for what you should do with what He’s given you. You have faith in God, but God has faith in you (and that’s pretty cool)!
3. God gives in accordance to ability, but He rewards according to faithfulness.
We don’t all have the same abilities or capacity.
In the parable, the master gave each of his servants a different sum of money in accordance with their capacity to manage it–not in accordance with his favor of them.
In life, we are each given different gifts and different responsibilities.
The good news is your job is not to be successful; it’s to be faithful with what God has put in your hands.
The #1 enemy of you carrying out the calling God has given you is comparing yourself to other people.
Don’t focus on what God has given to other people or you’ll miss the beauty of all that He has entrusted you with!
4. Get Busy!
A good steward is urgently faithful to the interests of the master. The first two servants wasted no time making the most of what they had been given, because they knew the master was coming back.
You, too, should live with a sense of urgency. But this is not to be confused with anxiety.
Living with a sense of urgency means living in awareness of your God-given role and being faithful with what you have been given while you can, because you know that Jesus will return.
God has given you a lot, and He expects something from you.
How are you leveraging the business, time, and gifts God has given you?
What are you going to do with what God has put in your hand? Let’s leverage what we have for the kingdom of God to make an impact that will last for eternity.
Check out our blog on why we give: