Each week in Rush Creek News we will be engaging insights from the NIV Stewardship Study Bible. This week we want to look at the Who and Why of Stewardship. If we get these parts wrong, stewardship can feel a bit more like a curse than a blessing.
The Who of Stewardship
Everyone forms an understanding of what it means to be a steward — even an effective steward. In other words, almost everyone agrees that we need to be effective and responsible managers of money, time, resources, and opportunities. Whether we are talking about financial stewardship, environmental stewardship, or corporate stewardship, who would argue that we should not manage each of these areas effectively?
Yet, if we go back to the definition of stewardship (i.e., “the management of someone else’s stuff”), we first need to determine the Who of stewardship. By definition, we are managing for someone else. But for whom are we managing these areas of life? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety of answers. Scripture, however, tells us that we are managers of God’s estate. We see already in Genesis 1 that God is the sole founder and owner of the cosmic enterprise we call the universe. Scripture leaves no doubt about his uncontested ownership and control of all he has made, from the earth itself to natural resources to plants and animals.
At no time in Scripture do we ever read about God relinquishing his ownership of anything he created? Psalm 24:1-2 reminds us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” God’s sovereign right to his creation is further reinforced by Psalm 50:10-12, “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”
God is the Who of stewardship. We are managing for the living God. Other people or organizations may benefit along the way as we become effective stewards. But our primary responsibility is to the One who entrusted all things into our care.
In the next installment we will explore why God has given us the privilege of stewarding his resources.