2 Peter 1:3 says that a man of valor has been granted “…all things he needs for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.”
Being granted or given all things is one thing; managing to glory and excellence is quite another.
Godly stewardship leads to excellence and God’s glory.
According to Merriam-Webster, stewardship is “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
Excellent biblical stewardship is recorded in the book of Matthew:
“To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
“And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more. ’His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
“He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master… I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’
“But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You … ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest… cast this worthless servant into the outer darkness…”Matthew 25:15-30: ESV
The Keeper of the Estate
In medieval times, a steward was the official in a medieval household responsible for its management. The lord—the owner of the land and property—had all of the legal authority; the steward was mandated to only administer the estate, but his stewardship was all-inclusive, from the broadest policies to the most trivial details. Ensuring that the staff were properly trained, he might delegate tasks, but he would know all happenings and all operational details, getting directly involved when necessary. He gathered information from the staff and from his own inspection of the estate. The best steward felt the responsibility on the deepest level, identified with the role, and carried it out with devoted industry and excellence.
In biblical times, a steward was a highly regarded person who had proven himself to be exceptionally trustworthy, able to manage an estate while understanding that he didn’t own the estate.
God Owns Everything
The most important principle of biblical stewardship is understanding that God owns everything; we are simply managers or administrators acting on His behalf.
Stewardship expresses a man of valor’s obedience regarding the use of everything God has placed under our control. It is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves. Since God provides all we have, since God owns all we have, even tithing is not giving—it is returning what is already God’s.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18: “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (ESV).
Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (ESV).
Stewardship Includes Spiritual Gifts…
One of the many gifts God has given to a man of valor is a spiritual gift, and He has commanded us to be stewards of that gift to help build His Kingdom. As God’s men of valor, we are all one family with many different gifts, and we have a responsibility to others around us to use them. You need to discover and use your spiritual gift!
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ… (1 Peter 4:10-11 NASB).
…and Much More
We are also responsible for the money and possessions God gives us; the time God gives us; the abilities and talents He gives us; the wisdom He gives us; the employment He gives us; and the family, relationships, and community He puts us in. We are even responsible for creation!
Like the servants in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, as stewards of all the resources that God has entrusted to our care, we will be asked how we have administered everything. We are not allowed to rule over them any way we see fit; instead, we are called to carefully manage and exercise all God has given to us under the watchful eye of the Creator, in accordance with the principles He has established. And being a good steward in this world is one way of expressing our love and gratitude to God.
Stewardship Brings Reward
God-glorifying, excellent stewardship comes with a reward! The Bible shows us that faithful stewards who do the Master’s will with the Master’s resources can expect to be rewarded. The reward might be incomplete in this life, but just wait until the next!
Malachi 3:10: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (ESV).
Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (ESV).
Matthew 25:21: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’” (ESV).
Stewardship Leads to Kingdom Impact
Men of valor: You need to embrace this larger biblical view of stewardship. Do you use your life to reach others for God’s glory through excellent stewardship? A good steward of Jesus is always looking for opportunities to find a way to share how your life has been changed for the better. Stewardship connects everything we do with what God is doing.