Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Definition of Stewardship

By S. Michael Durham

The definition of stewardship is the Christian is a custodian or manager of the provision of God’s resources entrusted to him or her for the purpose of increasing those resources. Success is not dependent upon the steward’s preserving the Lord’s resources but increasing them. The faithful steward or manager increases the holdings of his Master.

The two faithful stewards in Jesus’ parable found in Matthew 25 were honored and rewarded because they did not just protect the Owner’s assets but increased them. The parable’s unfaithful steward was rebuked and punished because he only protected and did not increase the Owner’s asset.

But how do we increase the things God has entrusted to us? Not just by evangelism or by giving money to the church. This parable is not about winning the lost or financing the building fund. It is about being faithful and productive with what God has invested in you. For example, all believers have been forgiven. God has invested the grace of forgiveness. How then can I take the grace of forgiveness and increase it? By forgiving those who offend me. Now two people have experienced forgiveness.

Another example, the Lord has given me a mind to think and learn. In my study of the Bible, the Holy Spirit invests knowledge about God that helps me to grow. I take that information and by the power of the same Holy Spirit share it with someone else. Now two people have heard from God and not just one.

Yet another example, God in His kindness gives you money to purchase something to eat today. You take the money and not only buy you something to eat but someone else. This way two people are feed by the goodness of God and not just one person. God’s goodness is multiplied in your productivity of investing in someone besides you.

The key to effective stewardship is to remain conscious that we are not the possessors of anything within in our grasp. It all belongs to another—our Heavenly Father. The wonderful grace of God employs us in working with the Great Owner of All to not protect against loss, but to increase what is given to our care. Loss is not even possible, except if we hoard what He has committed to us.

What is in your custodial care that you have not increased yet? Do you still have the same amount you had when God first trusted you? Then you and the kingdom are suffering loss. You are losing the potential earnings that could be if you would learn to believe that all things given to you are for your sharing with others to the glory of God.

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