Many people have a misunderstanding of what it means to be a steward. It’s not just getting out of debt and sticking to a budget. It’s much more than just writing a tithe check every month.
Living as a steward means surrendering your finances to God and recognizing yourself as a manager, not owner, of all you have. It is a part of our identity, not just our behavior.
I want to share with you a few of the biblical principles of stewardship and four reasons why becoming God’s steward is so very important, all taken from Matthew 25:14-30 – The Parable of the Talents.
If you’re not familiar with the Parable of the Talents, I’d encourage you to go read it. The story is of three people who all work for the same master.
The master leaves on a journey but entrusts different amounts of gold to each of the three men before he departs. He distributes the gold based on each man’s ability. The first man receives five bags of gold, the second, two bags, and the third, one bag.
While the master is gone, the first and second men invest their gold, multiplying the amount they were given to profit their master. The third man, however, goes and buries his gold. When the master returns, the first two men give back double the amount of gold they were given. The third man gives back exactly what he was given.
As you can guess, the master is pleased with the work and faithfulness of the first two men – they’re rewarded. The third man is called wicked, lazy, and worthless. He loses his job, was punished, and cast out of the master’s presence.
1. Stewardship is man’s responsibility to manage God’s property.
In the Parable of the Talents, the money that was entrusted to each person was not theirs. The money was given to them for a certain amount of time and they were held accountable for their management of it.
It’s a perfect example of how God entrusts us with money during our time here on earth. We will be held accountable for how we have managed it, whether we have a lot or a little! We are not the owners of what we have. We are all temporary managers. We will be either faithful or unfaithful in how we manage it.
2. Stewardship impacts our eternal destiny.
Stewardship is not ordering your finances in a way that you can spend whatever you want. It’s ordering your life in such a way that God can spend you however He wants.
Think about this: in a few years, everything you have will either be thrown away or belong to someone else. Everything. Your house, your car, all your clothing, all your books, your most prized possessions.
So instead of concerning yourself with the material distractions of this world, focus your time and money on eternity. In the Parable of the Talents, their faithfulness was measured when the master returned and they were either rewarded or punished based on their management. The same will be true of us when we enter heaven.
You’ll only spend a few years here on earth, but an eternity in heaven. All that we have here has been given to us by God and the way we manage it matters not just now, but more so in heaven.
3. Stewardship means we have not consumed it all on ourselves, but have preserved some for others.
Those who multiplied what was given to them were commended for their good work. There were resources available to help and bless others.
First Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
As you make short-term and long-term plans, think of your family’s future needs. Save for retirement, education, and plan your legacy. Learn to be more and more generous and less and less selfish.
4. Heaven will involve more stewardship responsibility!
Heaven is not a celestial vacation or fishing over the edge of a cloud. It is serving the Creator, Owner and Master of the Universe. The stewards that are faithful on Earth will be rewarded with being in charge of cities in Heaven! We will continue to work and serve as stewards of the True Owner—God Almighty.
If you want to take a deeper look at what stewardship means, enroll in the online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study. You’ll get access to 10 Life Lessons, which cover what the Bible says about all aspects of your finances. You can start today!