TO CHEW ON:"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2
In Paul's day a steward was an important part of wealthy households. It was the steward's job to oversee particularly the feeding of the household. He was in full charge and accountable only to the owner.
A steward in our time has no less responsibilities. He is, by my dictionary:
1) One entrusted with the management of property, finances, or other affairs not his own — an administrator.
2) One in charge of buying provisions, managing servants etc.
3) One with a unique role in various settings:
- on a ship, in charge of food and the guests' comforts.
- on an airplane or bus, one who waits on the passengers.
- in a union, a shop steward is the intermediary between the workers and the union leadership.
When Paul was calling himself a steward he was identifying himself as a person who dedicated himself to the spiritual nourishment needs of others. Whatever his role (and he had many: explainer of God's word, teacher, preacher, church planter, mentor) he lived it under the overarching principles of being a "servant of Christ" which included being "a steward of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1).
Though we may not have an official position of leadership, all of us have those in our lives to whom we can be spiritual stewards. Whether those who look to us are our children, or friends, or members of our Bible study class, or whole churches, let's take personally Paul's challenge to be faithful stewards of the things God has entrusted to us:
- God's word - the Bible, in our country freely available in multi-translations with an accompanying embarrassment of riches in the Bible helps and commentaries department.
- Time, talents and opportunities (from internet access to an opening in conversation with our local barista).
We could make the faithful steward in the story Jesus told, our model (Luke 12:42-43).
PRAYER: Dear God, what a privilege to be a steward of the eternal truths of the Bible. Help me to be faithful. Amen.
MORE: "Servants think like stewards, not owners
"Servants remember that God owns it all. In the Bible, a steward was a servant entrusted to manage an estate. Joseph was this kind of servant as a prisoner in Egypt. Potiphar entrusted Joseph with his home. Then the jailor entrusted Joseph with his jail. Eventually Pharaoh entrusted the entire nation to him. Servanthood and stewardship go together, since God expects us to be trustworthy in both. The Bible says, 'the one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master.' How are you handling the resources God has entrusted to you?" - Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, p. 266-267.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.