Orthodox Stewardship Part 2: Stewardship

Last week we began with an intro into the paradigm shift of Stewardship vs Ownership.  In stewardship you are given something to manage that was not yours. In ownership you feel that you are the sole owner of everything you have and can do with it as you will. 

Explore some difference between the models of Stewardship vs Ownership:

Steward Owner
Subject to someone else’s directive. You can do what you will.
Need to answer to Owner at any time. No one to answer to.
Need to keep accounts. Not necessary to keep accounts.

Biblical Examples of Stewardship

Let’s start with Adam and Creation.  After God created all of creation he took Adam and placed him in the garden. In Genesis 2:15, it says “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”   We are to tend and keep his creation, to be stewards of what the Lord has made. 

King David assembled all the leaders of Israel were he announced that his son Solomon will build a Temple for the Lord God.  However, in order to build this temple he needed to raise Gold, Silver, etc. First Chronicles 29:6-9 accounts the generosity of the leaders to build the temple.  Then 1 Chronicles 29:10-14 David sings praises to God, and points out that the generosity comes from the understanding that everything is Gods and we are only returning to God what is already His.

In the New Testament the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates how God has given us gifts that we should use correctly.  In the parable, the master gives three servants different amounts.  This is pointing out that some might have more than you and some might have less, but that is not your concern.  You are to do the most with what you have.  The master came back after some time. The servants, like us, must always be ready to account of what you did with His talents.  After rewarding the servants that doubled their money he turned to the servant who buried the one talent.  That servant explained that he did it out of fear of losing what he had. Do we do that sometimes? Do we hold back our giving out of fear of not having enough for ourselves? 

How to be Better Stewards

The first thing we should do is to account for your spending.  Take a month or two and track how you spend your money.  Look at where your money goes and see if you can make lifestyle changes that are more in line with advancing God’s Kingdom.  This leads us to Budgeting, our goal is to create a budget that puts aside a portion of money for charity.  Sticking to our budget requires us to live within our means.  This involves avoiding consumerism, as a bit of asceticism is good thing.   

Debt is a tool that is neutral.  We can get into a dangerous cycle with Credit Card debt.  We can use debt to buy a home or get an education.  With some discernment and keeping the principle of living within your means you can use debt appropriately.