An Introduction to Stewardship

9 May

Last week in “Our Effort or God’s Gift” we explored the idea that our income is not the result of our hard work or superior education. Rather, our paychecks are a gift from God. And they are a gift which we are expected to handle wisely. Indeed, Jesus declared that, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:48) This week, we’ll be exploring this concept of stewardship with a bit more depth, beginning with the parable of the talents.

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells His disciples a story about a wealthy businessman who, before leaving on a long journey, decided to commit portions of his fortune to his servants. To one, he gave five talents of gold, to another two, and to another one. It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t distinguish between the servants. He doesn’t tell us what roles they held within the household or how hard they labored on their master’s behalf. In fact, the only distinction between them is the amount of money that the master left in their care.

Upon his return, the master found that the first servant doubled the value of his investment. The second servant, likewise, made a return on the rich man’s money. The third, however, took the path of extreme caution. Opting for a “low-risk investment”, he buried the gold and returned it to his master exactly what had been given. (Though, perhaps, a bit dustier than it had been initially.)

Jesus goes on to explain the master’s pleasure with both men who, despite the disparity in what he had given them, gave him a good return on his investment. The third man, however, didn’t fare quite so well. He had done as little as possible with the resources entrusted to his care and reaped the “reward” due a lazy steward.

The passage ends on a theme quite similar to that of Luke 12:48: “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29) The moral? God’s gift to us doesn’t just consist of a paycheck, but of His trust that we will handle that paycheck well.[1]

Indeed, with money, just as with everything else, we are merely stewards – those who handle wealth on behalf of another. And God is clear that, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Next week, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the concept of stewardship. Meanwhile, feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas in the comment box below!


[1] We have chosen to focus on the monetary aspect of this passage, but it is important to note that the concept of stewardship extends to every area of our lives: our time, our skills, and our physical resources.

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