7 Important Stewardship Lessons
1. We are not the owners
Joseph was a steward in Potiphar's household. He was put in charge of caring for his master's possessions and his master's household. I sometimes confuse myself because I'll write my name on books and other items I own. This habit is a little misleading because everything I own - everything you own- is the property of God and God has given us the job of stewards. The day is coming when I will pass my books on to another to aid them in their ministry.
2. We act on behalf of the Master
A steward doesn't get to buy what she wishes with the money of another. She makes executive spending decisions that she believes to be in line with the will and wishes of the owner. In a similar way, we must not protect our own self-interest while managing God's money. Instead, we seek to use it in a way that is in line with God's will and wishes for God's property. Of course, we best discover God's will and wishes through the Bible.
3. The key quality of a steward is trust
If someone is going to ask us to oversee his estate, then surely he must trust us. With trust always comes expectation. To be trusted with something is the greatest of blessings and the greatest of burdens. We must do what is trustworthy and honorable with what we have received.
4. We are entrusted with different amounts
As stewards, we should rid ourselves from either jealousy or a judgemental heart. We are not asked to analyzed and criticize what other stewards are doing. Instead, we simply look at what we've been entrusted with and ask how we can bring the most glory to God with what God's given to us. There is a danger spending too much time concerned with the speck in our sister's eye, while we have a plank in our own eye.
5. We must anticipate an evaluation of our performance
When a master puts a steward in charge of his possessions, the steward should expect to be evaluated based on his performance. His performance is not one that earns the respect of the master. Instead, his performance recognizes the sovereignty and greatness of the master. Life is lived in response to the great blessings the steward has received. His evaluation will be based on what was first entrusted to his steward and based on the current results. A steward always anticipates the question, "Were you faithful with what was entrusted to you?"
6. Stewardship involves much more than money
We're stewards of all we have - gifts, environment, education, experience, and so on. We are who we are because of what we've been given by God. Are we using it - all of it - for our Lord's praise, honor, and glory?
7. Good stewardship may require training
It's rare for a person to instinctively know how to best manage all the resources of a master. There will be lessons to learn and habits to change. If I don't know how to budget, then learning about budgeting would be an act of good stewardship. If I don't know anything about investing, then learning how to invest would be an act of good stewardship. Good stewardship may require good education. If we seek to live for the praise and honor of God, we'll frequently remind ourselves of our proper role as God's stewards and servants.