What is stewardship? It’s a term I kept hearing in church often.
However, one thing I noticed is that the majority of the people I hear it from are the older men and women in church.
So, I started asking, how many of our youth have the slightest idea of what the word even means?
Table of Contents
Definition of Stewardship
Stewardship is a key idea for Christians that means looking after everything God gives us. It’s about using our time, stuff, and health to show we’re grateful to God and want to help others.
This idea starts right at the beginning of the Bible, where it says God made us do good things with what we have. It’s not just about giving money to the church; it’s about living in a way that shows God is in charge and we follow His lead.
By doing this, we’re joining in on God’s big plan and making a difference that will last forever.
Here are the main points of stewardship:
- Looking after resources to make sure they’re there for the future.
- Using resources wisely and with care.
- Making plans that help keep resources around for a long time.
- Being honest about how resources are used.
- Helping others by using resources smartly.
What do we mean by resources here?
Resources don’t necessarily have to mean wealth or material possessions only. It could pertain to the person, gifts, talents, health, or the environment itself.
Here is a list of examples of different resources given and entrusted to the youth to be charged with stewardship responsibilities.
Stewardship of wealth
Being able to take care of the material possessions given to us. Mostly about money, but it could also refer to assets we accumulate and how we take care of it.
The ability to take care of our health and body ensures that we are physically fit to serve others and the ministry.
Doing what we can to preserve the land, nature, creation, and God’s gifts. Being able to care for our surroundings, the animals, or the entirety of creation.
Talents and Gifts Stewardship
Acknowledging the concept of natural-born abilities as gifts.
Using them intentionally in a way that makes sense and serves a greater purpose will make sure they contribute positively to others’ lives.
Understanding where these strengths come from. They were given by someone above us with grace, so they should be used with grace and good intentions, too.
This means using information ethically. Whether it’s data or knowledge, it should always be handled like it’s a responsibility.
The careful and responsible management and protection of assets and physical belongings we accumulate over time.
Community and Future Consideration: We should use property in a way that benefits the owner, serves the community, and keeps the well-being of future generations in mind.
A study on the correlation between leadership and innovation found that when leaders show good stewardship, it helps radical innovation flourish, leading organizations to more success.
Critical Differences Between Stewardship and Management
At first, these two words might seem the same, and we often use them instead of each other. But, some differences between them are good to know.
- Purpose: Stewardship is about ethically looking after resources for people. Management is about efficiently running things.
- Timeframe: Stewards think about keeping resources safe for the future. Managers focus on what’s happening today or this year.
- Relationships: Stewardship is based on trust and caring. Management is about being in charge and making decisions.
- Motivation: Stewards want to serve and do the right thing. Managers want to achieve the immediate goals.
- Scope: Stewardship looks at the broader impact on everyone. Management looks at the current needs.
- Approach: Stewardship is about the big picture and lasting care. Management is about order and following steps.
Stewardship in the Bible means that people are given the job to look after everything God created and has given them. It says that God owns everything, and people are just looking after it for Him.
The Bible teaches that people work with God to care for all parts of life. The apostle Paul talks about this when he says we work together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9).
In the Bible, being a good steward means carefully using everything we’re in charge of according to what God wants. It’s about understanding that we don’t control ourselves or our things—God does.
So, as God’s stewardship is, we should use what we have in a way that makes God happy and shows humanity His greatness.
Management in the Bible
In the Bible, management is closely linked to the job of a steward. A steward back then was someone trusted to run a household’s affairs.
Take Joseph, for example; he was put in charge of Potiphar’s house, managing everything and making decisions (Genesis 39:1–6a).
His job was to handle the household’s resources wisely, not to waste them, and to make intelligent food choices.
Both Play Important Roles
- Stewardship and management are different, but both are necessary. Stewardship is about why we do things – our purpose and ethics. Leadership is about how we do things – the methods and actions.
- Using stewardship and management helps us reach our goals in a way that’s good for now and the future.
What are the qualities of a good steward?
We’ve covered several definitions, examples, and distinctions of the word stewardship above; now, let’s look at the qualities of a good steward.
A good steward recognizes that everything they have is a gift from God, not something they earned or deserve. They are humble and grateful before God, not prideful (Deuteronomy 8:11-18). Youth should understand that talents, resources, and opportunities come from God, cultivating humility.
A faithful steward carries out their duties and responsibilities with dedication and perseverance (Matthew 25:21). They remain faithful to God even in small things (Luke 16:10). Teaching our youth the importance of faithfulness prepares them to serve God devotedly.
Good Christian stewardship will use what God has given them to serve others, not themselves. They are generous and willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). The youth should be taught that good stewardship involves using our gifts to serve the needs of others.
Obedient stewards follow God’s guidance on how to manage and use their resources (Matthew 25:14-30). They obey God’s commands, even when it’s complicated. Helping youth obey God’s Word in how they steward resources is critical.
A wise steward makes decisions that further God’s purposes. They invest and multiply what God has given them (Matthew 25:14-23). Teaching the youth to use discernment and wisdom as they steward resources is essential.
Biblical stewardship means they take their stewardship duties seriously and manage resources diligently (Luke 12:48). Teaching our youth personal responsibility and faith in stewardship prepares them to manage resources well.
What are tips regarding stewardship from Ellen White?
- Ellen White says the youth should learn to be thrifty, to say no to themselves sometimes, and to control their desires early on. They should avoid being selfish, greedy, or overindulgent (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 295; Child Guidance, p. 138).
- White believes young people should use their gifts to help others, not just themselves, and aim to live noble lives (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 24; Child Guidance, p. 166).
- She suggests young people can learn to be good stewards by keeping track of the money they make and spend, saving up, and donating (Child Guidance, p. 150; Counsels on Stewardship, p. 295).
- White advises that special days like birthdays should be about learning to be unselfish and thankful, not just about getting presents (Child Guidance, p. 141; Counsels on Stewardship, p. 296).
- She encourages young people to use their time and abilities generously and to give to their church as a form of worship (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 44; Child Guidance, p. 150).
- Stewardship, according to White, helps teach values such as being trustworthy, responsible, and caring, which are vital to becoming more like Christ (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 24; Child Guidance, p. 166).
- White also highlights the importance of parents setting a good example in stewardship, as kids will pick up on any mismatch between what their parents say and do (Child Guidance, p. 150; Counsels on Stewardship, p. 295).
Conclusion on What is Stewardship
So, what is stewardship?
It all comes down to responsibility. We must understand that everything we have is a gift, from our talents to our time, and it’s up to us to use them. When we can manage them well and use sustainable practices, we send a message straight to God that we are servants He can trust.
We can’t let these gifts sit around and collect dust, though. It’s important for growth and innovation. A good steward doesn’t just maintain things; they also look at how they can be enhanced and improved. They push the boundaries by exploring different ways resources can be used and finding innovative solutions.
So as young stewards of faith, let’s willingly take this role on with open arms. Let’s show people in our church and the rest of the world that when we’re faithful in managing what we have been given, we aren’t just protecting it — but multiplying and enhancing it too. With this mindset, we’ll open doors for endless possibilities, creativity, hope, and a bright future.