What comes to your mind when you hear the word “stewardship”?
I used to associate that word strictly with finances. Though I probably realized on some level that the applications reach further, I neglected to flesh out what that looks like in real life.
I’ve learned in recent years that stewardship is one of the most life-changing principles for Christ-followers living out our faith.
So if stewardship isn’t just about managing our money, what is it?
Simply put, stewardship is recognizing our blessings and managing them well for the glory of God and the good of others.
Stewardship starts with an understanding that every good thing in our lives is a gift from God (John 3:27). No matter what our flesh longs to believe, and no matter what our secular humanist culture tries to impart, the truth is that our very best efforts on our very best days amount to nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Nothing good dwells in us, apart from the grace of God through Jesus Christ (Romans 7:18).
The second important component of stewardship is recognizing that God will hold us accountable for how we manage our blessings (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:42-46). He wants us to use our gifts to serve each other (1 Peter 4:10), and there will come a time when God will either give or withhold rewards based on our works (2 Corinthians 5:10).
When we recognize the gifts of grace God has granted and understand the accountability we have to the Giver of those gifts, we are ready to practice biblical stewardship.
Areas of Stewardship
Here are some blessings and experiences we often overlook as we consider the responsibility of stewardship, as well as some application questions to consider. Remember that the goal of stewardship is the utmost glory to God and benefit toward others.
Finances – What financial resources has God given me? What income-earning capabilities do I have? How can I best use these resources and abilities for the glory of God and the good of others? What obstacles are interfering with good financial stewardship, and how can I overcome them?
Property – How can I best steward my home? My vehicles? Other material goods God has given me? How have I neglected to maintain these blessings in the past? How does God want me to use them in service on behalf of others?
Time – What are my God-given priorities? Do my calendar and my schedule reflect these priorities? What activities are consuming more time than they should? What steps must I take to be a better steward of the time God has given me?
Talents – What spiritual gifts has God given me? Am I using them for the building up of Christ’s Church? What learned skills and natural talents do I have? How can I best use them to benefit and encourage others?
Health – What am I able to do? Can I see? Hear? Speak? Move? Am I honoring God with my body? Am I using my physical abilities to serve others joyfully? In what ways am I neglecting my health? How does God want me to improve in this area?
Relationships – What immediate family relationships do I have? Am I nurturing these relationships effectively? What about extended family relationships? Friendships? Relationships with neighbors? Coworkers? How does God want me to invest in the people He has placed in my life?
Trials – What painful circumstances has God allowed me to endure? What does He want me to learn from them? How have I seen His faithfulness during times of trial? Whom can I encourage with my testimony?
Education – What formal education do I have? What valuable lessons have I learned from life experience? How does God want me to use the knowledge and wisdom I’ve attained for His glory and for the good of others?
Ministry – What local church ministries has God allowed me to participate in? What other types of ministry has He called me to? Am I handling these responsibilities soberly and wholeheartedly, with an awareness that they are gifts from God? Is there any area in which I’ve been disobedient to His call?
The Gospel – Am I walking worthy of the grace I’ve been granted? With whom can I share the gospel? Whom does God want me to mentor in their Christian walk?
Training the Next Generation of Stewards
Beyond having a firm grasp of the stewardship principle ourselves, there is also good fruit that comes with helping our children view God’s blessings through the lens of stewardship. I’ve observed three main benefits in our family:
1. Stewardship reinforces God’s role as the primary authority.
Though children are under the protective umbrella of parental authority for a season, they are ultimately and eternally under God’s authority. The sooner we can convey this truth in age-appropriate ways, the better; a stewardship framework helps parents accomplish this.
2. Training in stewardship encourages children to develop a biblical worldview.
God graciously gave us the perfect set of standards for life in His Word. They aren’t standards meant to confine us to a box for God’s amusement; they’re standards established for our good and they are applicable to every part of our lives.
The stewardship principle helps kids to apply biblical teaching in relatable ways. It also encourages them to recognize the blessings of God with thanksgiving, and to handle those blessings responsibly.
3. Teaching stewardship offers kids an understanding of the “why” behind the morals, behaviors, attitudes, and choices we’re already nurturing.
I can’t really think of a household rule that doesn’t have stewardship at its foundation. Whether it’s screen-time limits, chores assigned, “no ice cream for dinner,” or “don’t hit your sister,” stewardship is a principle that impacts every aspect of our kids’ lives, both now and in the future.
Perhaps considering the breadth of stewardship is new to you – I’m still exploring the ramifications myself! But I’m trusting God for continued guidance in raising the next generation of faithful stewards.
How about you? What steps have you taken to teach your kids about stewardship? Did this post prompt some new ideas? We would love for you to take a moment to share below!