What Exactly Does the Idea of Stewardship Mean?

Let’s look at the idea of stewardship and how it applies to everyday living, even if you aren’t religious.

What is Stewardship

Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted to one’s care.

In life, we have been trusted and entrusted with many things. We have been entrusted with our bodies, our health, our families, our children, our finances, and even our own thoughts, and in all of these things, we must be good stewards because the cost of not being a good steward is poor physical health, lack of mobility and functionality, poor mental and spiritual health, family problems, unhealthy and unhappy children, unemployment and financial problems, even homelessness (God forbid), just to name a few. Basically, stewardship refers to how successful a person is at running their own life and the things that have been entrusted to them.

A poor steward would not be likely to succeed at much of anything whereas a good steward would be more likely to succeed at most everything. Why? Because life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you choose to deal with it, 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. In other words, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

How To View Stewardship

A good steward is someone who looks at their life, evaluates what they have and where they are, then devises a plan to make the best use of what they have and keeps working at it until they succeed. A poor steward, on the other hand, would look at their life, make little effort to even evaluate what they have and where they are, then make no solid plans for improving their situation and certainly would not make much effort in the furtherance of their life situation.

So, which are you? If you find that you are the poor steward, do you want to change that? Can you change that? Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about stewardship and, even if you aren’t religious, see how we can apply these principles to our lives and reap the rewards of working smart and hard, by the grace of God.

What the Bible Says About Stewardship

Mathew 25:14-30 (the talents in this parable were a form of money)

For the kingdom of heaven, is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled the accounts with them. So, he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them. His lord said to him, well done good and faithful servants; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. He also who had received two talents came and said, lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them. His lord said to him, well done good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. Then he who had received the one talent came and said, lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sewn and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid and I went and hid your talent to the ground. Look there you have what is yours. But his lord answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, give it to him who has 10 talents. For everyone who has, will be given and have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

These can be seen as harsh words and, from them, we can see that God is serious about us making something of ourselves. We can see that if He entrusts something to us, He fully expects that we will make use of whatever it is that he has given us and multiply it.

One of my favorite sayings is; “your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with that talent is your gift back to God”. Whatever it is that God gives to us, if we neglect making use of it and multiplying it, then we are not giving back to God the dividends of what was entrusted to us.

1 Peter 4:10

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold, grace of God. 

Being a good steward and making something of one’s life is not just for one’s own benefit but also for the benefit of those around them and as a demonstration of God’s grace to mankind.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

But this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully, will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

And we can see here that we are exhorted to not only make use of the talents (make something of ourselves and our lives), but to do so cheerfully, as to God. 

Colossians 3:23-24

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that, from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-17

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

We must carefully guard the way in which we make use of these talents and the way in which we live our lives. We must not live foolishly, but wisely. I feel that one of the worst things that we can do in life is to foolishly and aimlessly waste what we have been given – even if we feel that we have been delt a bad hand in life, we must make the most of it. We only live once, why not do the best that you can with it. In everything that we do, we should do it heartily, with gusto and full commitment, as if we were doing it for God himself.

Romans 14:12

So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God. 

Our lives, truly, are not our own with which to do as we please. Even if you don’t believe in God and feel that your being here is just an accident of evolution or a simulation, doing nothing with your life is, at the very least, a crime against yourself. Why would you want to be broke, miserable and unhealthy? I assure you that if you make no effort to improve your situation then your situation will, mostly certainly, not improve.

What Should I Do

It’s easy to get stuck in self-pity and apathy but I urge you to fight against these feelings, fight against hopelessness and helplessness, fight for yourself, fight for your life, fight for your family and fight to make the most of whatever hand you have been delt in life. The uphill battle is not an easy one but it is the only battle that there is. Lying down and giving up isn’t an option. As long as there is breath in your body, you must fight. Even if you don’t expect it of yourself, God expects it of you.

God does hold us accountable, and we will have to give account to Him when that day comes. Stewardship is a serious obligation but don’t see it as a burden that God has given you a life or talents, but rather, see it as a wonderful opportunity to give back something to God, to yourself  and to others.

Life is full of opportunities, it is your responsibility to go out there and make something of them, make something of yourself. You owe it to yourself and to God.