Just what is a steward? Two Greek words are translated "steward" numerous times in New Testament scripture. The first word is "Oikonomos." Broken down, "Oidos" refers to "a house." "Nemo" is an "arranger." Put together, you have the idea of a house arranger. The second Greek word is "Epitropos." It means "commission" and is rendered "steward" (NKJV) or "tutor" (KJV) in Galatians 4:2 and "steward" in Matthew 20:8.
Many people think of stewardship as being a study on giving. How we use, and serve God with, our financial blessings is only one application of the general principle of stewardship taught in God's word. As can be seen from the Greek words noted above, the concept of stewardship is broad. It is one of being in a position of responsibility over a state of affairs. That state of affairs could be something in one's own personal life, or it could be a position of service that he provides for someone else. Whatever the case might be, as a steward he is responsible for overseeing the matters placed in his charge.
As Christians we hold a number of different positions of stewardship. A Christian wife is in a position of stewrdship in regards to her responsibilities toward her husband, and a Christian husband holds a similar stewardship toward his wife. (Ephesians 5:22-33). Christian parents are stewards in the rearing of their children. In the workplace a Christian needs to recognize his job as a position of stewardship. As the Lord's church we are stewards of the church. We are responsible to be the church in every aspect of its human identity. We must teach the classes, do the visiting and the evangelizing, uphold the truth of God's word, see to the benevolent needs, be encouragers toward our brothers and sisters in Christ, be proper examples of Christianity to the world around us, see to the physical care of the facilities of the church and support the work financially.
The teaching on stewardship in the New Testament, and there's a lot of it, is there for our instruction and learning. Part of that instruction is to the point that God holds us accountable for our stewardship (Luke 16:1-2). Indeed, the apostle Paul emphasized that stewards must be faithful. "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).
All blessings are ultimately from God (James 1:17). As recipients of those blessings, and membership in the church is certainly one of them, we are in a position of stewardship as to how we use those blessings. We should love God with all of our being (Matthew 22:37). Clearly, central to such love toward God is serving Him through the proper use of the blessings that He bestows upon us. We are to live our lives to God's glory, and responsible stewardship of His blessings is part of so living...
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Gary L. Hutchens