Week 2 Days 7-12 The Meaning of Stewardship
Day 7 - We Are Stewards, Not Owners
In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. —1 Corinthians 4:2
The Bible teaches that believers are not owners, but stewards, of God-given resources.A steward is someone who manages the resources of another to accomplish the goals of the owner.
We used to call airline attendants “stewardesses.” It meant that the attractive ladies serving coffee and Coke didn’t own the airplane. They were merely managing the resources of the airline to accomplish its purposes. In the same way we don’t own anything—money, possessions, time, talents, children, or our own bodies. It all belongs to God. We are merely stewards of His resources.
If you loaned a friend your new convertible, you wouldn’t be happy if he took it fourwheeling in the mountains. Why? Because it’s not his car! As a steward of your car, he has the responsibility to care for it as you would. Similarly, as stewards of God’s resources, we don’t have the right to do anything we want with them. Instead, we have a responsibility to use them as God would. In God’s perfect plan of providence, He has made sure we already have all the resources needed to pay pastors, send missionaries,and erect buildings to advance the gospel. He has given us the time, talents, energy and intelligence to serve others. All we have to do is is invest wisely and prove trustworthy.
If God slept, could He sleep peacefully knowing you are in charge of His resources?
Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities. ~Unknown
Dig Deeper: Genesis 39:2-8; Luke 19:11-27
Day 8 - We Are Stewards of Our Time
Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. —Ephesians 5:15, 16
One of the greatest gifts God gives us is the twenty-four hours we get at the start of each day. Since God gives us our lives, our time belongs to Him, not to us. Someone said, “Life is like a coin. You can spend it however you want, but you can only spend it once.” That’s why, if we are wise, we will make the most of that time by carefully doing His will. This is especially important since ungodly people fill each day with as much evil as possible.
Bil Keane said it well, “Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." We can make the most of God’s present of time by fulfilling the two great commandments: (1) “You shall love the Lord your God” and (2) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-39).
We love God by fellowshipping with Him, by obeying Him, by serving Him, and by trusting Him fully. We love our neighbor as ourselves by sharing the gospel with him, ministering to fellow believers, and taking care of orphans and widows in their distress. Because the days are full of evil temptations and evil deeds, we need to make sure we take every opportunity to connect with God and care for others.
In a world of evil, God wants you to do a world of good with your time.
Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last. ~C. T. Studd
Dig Deeper: Psalm 139:16; 1 Peter 1:17
Day 9 - We Are Stewards of Our Talents
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
In the average church, 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. That’s sad because God has given every believer the ability to make a difference in the lives of other people. Peter refers to this ability as a “special gift.” He is talking about the “manifold” spiritual gifts given by the “grace of God.”
A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve others in the body of Christ with supernatural effectiveness. And Peter says “each has received” one. No exceptions! You have one of many possible spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-10, Ephesians 4:11-14 and 1 Peter 4:11. You also have one or more God-given natural talents.
Peter tells us we should take our “special gift” and “use it to serve one another.” God gave us our gifts and talents not for our benefit, but for the good of others. That means you and I are responsible to use them “as good stewards.” As stewards, we don’t own our spiritual gifts or natural talents. They belong to God. And He commands us to use them to accomplish His purposes in the lives of people. When we do, we receive such an undeserved blessing that Peter refers to our gifts as coming from the “grace of God.”
Don’t let the overworked 20 percent in your church get all the joy of serving.
Ministry’s not an option for a Christian; it’s a privilege. ~Lori Hatcher
Dig Deeper: Luke 19:11-27; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Day 10 - We Are Stewards of Our Treasure
Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? —Luke 16:11, 12
There is nothing intrinsically sinful having a lot of money. Some of the greatest saints in the Bible like Abraham and Job were rich. But Jesus called money “unrighteous wealth” because it so easily corrupts us— “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10).
Jesus made two sobering points about the stewardship of our treasure. First, the"unrighteous wealth” in our possession is not ours but “is another’s”—God’s. We are merely stewards of His treasure. Your bank account may have your name on it, but it really belongs to God. Your name may be on your car title, but God is the real owner. Second, if we don’t use His resources faithfully in this life, God won’t give us our own riches in the next life. We will lose rewards we could have earned if we had invested His money properly.
The fact that we are stewards of God’s money means every spending decision is a spiritual decision. Whether you are deciding to buy a latte or a Lexus, you are deciding how to spend God’s money. It’s as spiritual a decision as deciding when to read your Bible or where to serve in your church. And, according to Jesus, God is paying attention to your choices.
How faithfully are you using God’s money?
If we belong to Christ, it’s logical that everything we have truly belongs to Him.
Dig Deeper: Luke 12:42-48; Luke 16:1-9
Day 11 - We Are Stewards of Our Testimony
Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God. —2 Timothy 1:8
As with everything else in our lives, we are stewards, not owners, of our testimony about Jesus. He expects us to prayerfully, sensitively, and shamelessly share it whenever possible. Even if our testimony results in “suffering for the gospel,” we can endure it with “the power of God.”
As a believer, you have a testimony that everyone on the planet desperately needs. People are headed for an eternity without God because they don’t know salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone. This gospel message has been entrusted toyou by Jesus who, in the Great Commission, commanded us to make disciples of all nations.
You’re like a person to whom a dying medical researcher entrusted a new cure for heart disease. How could you not share that good news with the world?
As an individual, no matter how faithfully you witness, you have a limited number of opportunities to share your gospel testimony. But as part of a church, you can pool resources to get the message out through evangelists, missionaries, Internet, books, radio and TV.
Are you doing everything you can as a good steward to share your gospel testimony?
Whatever we do, we must not treat the Great Commission like it's the Great Suggestion. ~Charles R. Swindoll
Dig Deeper: 1 Peter 3:13-15; Revelation 12:11
Day 12 - We Are Stewards of God's Truth
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. —1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Paul tells his Corinthian readers how to view his co-worker Apollos and himself. They were merely Christ’s “servants” and “stewards” of God’s “mysteries.” A “steward” manages someone else’s resources. “Mysteries” refers to truths revealed by God in the New Testament era that were unknown in the Old.
Paul understood that as stewards, not owners, of God’s truths, he and Apollos were responsible to share them with as many people as possible. They had no right to hoard the “mysteries” for their own enrichment.
We who have been Christians for even a short time have knowledge of life-changing truths from God’s word. We know a sinner can be saved by simple faith in Jesus. We know God answers prayers made in Jesus’ name. We know God will never abandon us. And, like Paul and Apollos, our possession of these truths makes us stewards of them.
The Bible says that the church is “the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). It is each local church’s responsibility to maintain the existence of God’s truth in the world. And it is each member’s responsibility, as a good steward, to support his church’steaching ministry with prayer and financial gifts.
If you know God’s truth, He expects you to help share it with others.
We are debtors to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure in which we
have received it. ~P.F. Bresee
Dig Deeper: Matthew 28:19, 20; 2 Timothy 1:13-14