Summary: What is stewardship? Here is a biblical and practical definition of stewardship.
Faith Fundamental Baptist Church
September 3, 2004
Our new theme has been introduced to us last Wednesday. For the month of September, our theme would be ¡§The God of Creation,¡¨ putting an emphasis on stewardship. I¡¦ll be having a series of messages about stewardship.
If you¡¦re a Christian for a long time, the word stewardship is somewhat familiar to you. Over the years, what has the word stewardship impressed into your hearts?
Let¡¦s be honest, in the past years of our Christian life experience, when we hear the word stewardship, is our reaction more on positive or negative? Is our reaction more of hiding our wallets because we know that it will involve our money? The word stewardship maybe has a negative setback on our part. And sometimes most Christians think that when the theme is stewardship, the church is trying to raise some funds. Let me tell you that we¡¦re not raising some funds, actually God is blessing our financial needs. As Rev. Edpao said, ¡§we¡¦re not raising funds, but we¡¦re building Christian character.¡¨
Listen to this, Satan can take a word intended by God to be positive, joyous, excitedly faith challenging to something negative by deceitfully changing and narrowing the definition of the word. And when Satan does this, he robs us an opportunity to experience God more (knowing who He is and His ways).
To look at is one thing; to see is another.
To understand is a third.
To learn from what you understand is still something else.
But to act on what you learn is what really matters.
It is my desire and prayer that after this series of messages from the Word of God, we¡¦ll be able to see what stewardship is, understand what it means, to learn what we understand, and most especially to act. An author said that ¡§an appreciation of Christian stewardship gives you the freedom to enjoy what you have.¡¨
What is a steward? What is stewardship all about? Tonight we¡¦ll try to look at the focus or the center of stewardship. What does being a steward really mean?
In the Bible, the practice of stewardship is seen in the context of ancient Eastern household. I believe that one of the persons who exercised good stewardship in the Old Testament is none other than Joseph. So tonight, we¡¦ll try to learn some principles from Genesis 39:1-6 for us to better understand what a steward is or the focus of stewardship.
I. A Good Steward is Reliable (vv.4,5) assignment
We all know the story. In chapter 37, Joseph was sold by his brothers to the Ismaelite merchants for 20 shekels of silver. Then he was brought to Egypt and was sold as a slave as well. Now here in chapter 39, we can see the story of how Joseph became a steward of Potiphar, a prominent court official and high-ranking officer of Egypt, perhaps captain of the royal bodyguard.
So Joseph lived in the house of his Egyptian master (v.2). It¡¦s amazing how Potiphar took notice of Joseph. The Bible says that he saw that the Lord was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did. When Potiphar saw that Joseph can be trusted, Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar and became his attendant (v.4).
Now I would like to stop for a moment and reflect on a principle that we can see here about stewardship. Do you think when God would look at us and see what we do with what was entrusted to us, do you think we will find favor in His eyes? But you know what, inspite of our unfaithfulness and sinfulness, still the Lord found favor and have made us His stewards. The first thing that I would like for us to realize is this-
being a steward of God is a privilege.
Because Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar, he put Joseph in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned (v.4). Such favor was given to Joseph. He was a slave, he was not even an Egyptian and yet Potiphar trusted him so much that he put him in charge of everything he owned from time to time.
I would like for us to look on the phrase "put him in charge" in verse 4. The Hebrew word for this is the word paqad. It means to number, count; to call into account; or to look after. A strong undercurrent in the meaning of paqad is a positive action by a superior in relation to his subordinates. So when Potiphar made Joseph in charge, it was a positive action. It means that Potiphar saw something in Joseph unique from the other servants that he had.