“Be a good steward of what you have” is a phrase I often heard growing up in church or at home with my family. At a young age, I could gather that the phrase meant to take care of my stuff, but honestly, I have never really studied much about stewards or stewarding beyond that basic understanding. Even the word steward is sort of an old-fashioned sounding word that isn’t used much in conversation today.
In the Bible, stewards were the trusted managers of a household, palace or large estate. Royal stewards were second only to the king and likely had control over the king’s treasury, the royal estate and some military assets. They were also representatives of the king, carrying out his work on his behalf until he returned.
One of the mysteries of God’s grace is that we are entrusted with just such a task. We find a beautiful passage in 1 Peter 4:8-11 with some instructions about how to live and love as stewards, while we wait for Christ, our King, to return.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-11 (NIV)
“Faithful stewards of God’s grace…” I LOVE this! This is so much more than just “taking care of stuff!” This is Kingdom business! When we use the gifts we have received, we become faithful stewards of nothing less than the grace God has given us. These gifts do not belong to us for our sole benefit. We are stewards, using them to edify and strengthen the Kingdom of God and community of believers. We faithfully manage the gifts and talents the King has entrusted to us, until he returns.
We all have things we are good at, that we are happy to do, or God-given characteristics in our personalities. Some qualities we’ve always had, others God has cultivated in us over years of life experience. Whether we speak, love, or serve, we are called to be stewards of nothing less than God’s grace, given to us, for His service and glory.
If you are wondering what your gifts might be, try this. Write down a favorite Bible verse or two along with some of the things that you enjoy and are good at in life, in family, at church, in ministry, or at work. These should be things that are life-giving–you could do them all day and still come back for more. Take stock of your personality and the character qualities that could be a blessing to others and point them toward Jesus. Then ask yourself, “Will it bless others and reflect God’s light and love to the world around me?” Share with a friend or in the comments! Gifts are meant for community and the best way to cultivate them is through prayer, worship, and Bible study in community!