Summary: Steward of God
Text: 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Meaning of Steward.
Stewardship is the management of that which belongs to another. A person may be good steward or a bad steward, faithful or unfaithful; he becomes a steward at birth and remains one until his death. He is responsible and accountable to God for the management of all the things with which he has been entrusted.
Stewardship: Relationship & Restriction.
Man was created a steward. In the garden of Eden, it was the full intention of God that man would have far reaching, responsibilities and privileges. There was to be an intimate sharing between God the owner and the man the steward. An environment of openness God talked to man and man talked to God. To remind man of this, God place one tree as a restriction. This tree was a symbol of God’s authority-His sovereignty. This tree was also the only restriction placed upon man; this proves that man was to be steward and not an owner, because in stewardship there is always some restriction-something which the steward has no right. For instance, the manager of a public market cannot take any merchandise under his control for his own use, unless he pays for it, or the owner gives him a permission. All the problems in this world are the inevitable result of the false assumption that men are owners rather than stewards.
Time, Talent and Possessions.
When stewardship is understood as a relationship of trust between a person and his creator, immediately the question of responsibility and accountability comes into focus. Everyman, in order to be effective, has to understand what are the tools of his trade, these varies with the size, type and scope of whatever is to be managed. Adam and Eve were entrusted with certain tools at creation to enable them to administer their dominion of the earth.
Time is the most precious gift God had given us, time is the essence of life.
Talents: Time alone would be of no value if one were incapable of doing anything. Man was given the skills needed to perform his work, each person has different skills, diversified and unique. Even two people can do the same thing, one maybe more skillful and proficient than the other.
Possessions. Time and talent alone would be insufficient; an artist needs a brush and a writer a pen. There is nothing wrong with obtaining or maintaining possessions; this is what stewardship is all about. The wrongness occurs when one claims ownership of these possessions.
I was able to attend a funeral and at the close of the service we gathered at the home and it was interesting to hear the disposition of the deceased possessions. The musical instrument was given to the granddaughter, the furniture to another, the house to another person the land was divide and everything was given a new owners. No matter how much possessions you have accumulated in your lifetime you cannot take it with you when you’re dead, neither can lifeless hands hold anything.
What is money?
Money as it represents a medium of exchange, makes economic interchange possible on a worldwide scale.
Time + Talent = Life
The ingredients of life are time and talent. Without time there is no life; without talents, life would be meaningless.
Time + Talent = Money
Money or its equivalent is life, It is life in a tangible form.
Money = Life
If money is representative of life, to waste it would be to waste life; to hoard it would be to bury life. It follows that when one makes an offering of money to God, he is, in reality, offering a portion of his life. On the other hand, if a person does not wish to give money, or some material gift to God, it is a portion of his life which he does not wish to give.
When stewardship was first ordained, there was no money. Money or some medium of exchange became necessary when time, distance and convenience bacame factors. It therefore took whatever form people would accept in exchange for their time and talents. So, money today is a valuable tool, not only everyday commerce but also in the spread of the gospel. In this sense, its worth is inestimable. People in one place can use their time and talent to produce money; it can then be sent to the remotest parts of earth, where it is reconstituted into the time and talent of the missionary-each having a share in each soul won to Christ. This makes it possible for each professing Christian to maintain a worldwide outreach through his offerings.
Stewardship and money are not synonymous; stewardship is a relationship, as well as management. Money or material things, are the natural result of wise management. And while the relationship between a man and God remains constant, his material possessions will vary according to his ability and the size of trust with which he has been entrusted. The only requirement is faithfulness. Faithfulness in returning tithes and giving offerings to God.