Steward, by definition, is a caretaker.
In times of old, the Steward of a manor was one who was carefully
chosen and employed by that manor’s Master to watch over and care for
the Master’s property.
The Steward, far from being the owner himself, is rather a
This also is the Biblical concept of Stewardship.
If we faithfully tithe, even give additional gifts, and live
frugally, yet we hold onto the idea that we are the owners of anything,
we have missed this vital concept.
God is the owner of all,
and we are His carefully appointed caretakers (Ps. 24:1 – “The earth
is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in
we grasp this vital truth, the more complicated question becomes: “How
do I put this into practice?”
Consider the following story:
and Linda grew up in a church which taught that stewardship was giving
understood this basic concept of stewardship, and they were doing just
fine with their concept until they heard a sermon which revealed that
stewardship was 100%.
As young Christians, they were confused.
is stewardship – is it 10% or is it 100%?
year they earned $20,000.
They understood that a gift of 10%, or $2,000 (their tithe) is
Then they gave an additional $500 to other charitable interest
That was also stewardship.
and Linda also read in the Scriptures that stewardship is moderation of
That year their family budget was $15,000.
After their tithe, gifts, and family budget, they had $2,500
In terms of 100% stewardship, they knew that they must be
stewards over that, too.
they took the $2,500 to their local bank.
The banker assured them that a certificate of deposit, paying the
highest interest allowed by law and guaranteed by an agency of the
federal government, would be safe, secure, and liquid.
An investment in a certificate of deposit would be good
as they were ready to make their deposit in the bank, their real estate
agent said, “You don’t understand stewardship.
You can’t put that money in the bank and be a total steward.
To be a total steward, you have to consider things like leverage.
Invest your $2,500 in a $10,000 apartment house.
The growth will be on the full $10,000, though you have invested
As a bonus, you can deduct the interest and all repairs, creating
a tax advantage, because the apartment house can be depreciated.”
Larry and Linda spent the rest of the day driving up and down the
street, trying to find a $10,000 apartment house.
passed a brokerage firm.
To practice 100% stewardship, they checked it out, too.
Their broker told them, “If you put $2,500 in an apartment
house and you need money next month, the real estate commission will
wipe you out.
You might have to sell at a loss, or you may not be able to sell
What you really need to do is invest in a mutual fund.
It will grow in value, and you can market it any time you
which scenario reflects 100% stewardship?
Are we going to be judged on whether or not we have used the
greatest safety in our investment, have taken advantage of tax planning
available to us, or have diversified our investments and have seen them
we going to be condemned because of an unsuccessful investment?
answer, of course, is not a simple one, and the question itself must
necessarily point us back to Scripture.
There is not a prescription that may be handed out to everyone;
rather there are Biblical principles which each individual or family
These principles address our attitude about money and the things
that we own as well as our use of them.
So we must ask questions about our motivation and about our
Are we driven by greed?
A need for security?
Are we fulfilling our obligations to our family?
stewardship affects not only what we do with our income and possessions
now, but also how carefully we have planned for what will happen after
we pass away.
If we remember that God has placed these things under our care,
then we must plan for that as we would plan for the care of our
Scripture reminds us, “To whom much has been given, much will be