Read for This Week’s Study: Isa. 22:14–18; 1 Cor. 4:1, 2; Col. 2:2, 3; Eph. 6:13–17; 2 Cor. 5:10.
Memory Text: “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4, NIV).
In the story of humans as it is laid out in the Bible, Adam and Eve were the very first stewards. When they were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were given a multi-layered mandate to care for each other, and to care for the garden and also for what lay outside its parameters. Therefore, they are the prototypical stewards, their work being established even before the fall. From their experience, we learn that stewards are not owners. They are, rather, care-takers of that which belongs to someone else. In consequence we also learn that a good steward is one who acts in the best interest of the owner. Failure to act this way, particularly if the actions tend toward using someone else’s assets and possessions to advantage oneself, makes for very bad stewardship.
Notice the several passages from which we can draw our understanding of what it means to be a steward:
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (NIV)
“13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NIV)
“2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (NIV)
A sad but interesting counter to Adam and Eve, who were initially good stewards, is the story of a bad steward, found in Isaiah 22:15-18, the story of Shebna, an unfaithful, self-serving steward. What lessons are to be learned from this incident?
There is also the story found in Luke 16:1-15 that warrants mention. It is a major biblical passage on what it means to be a steward. After reading it and thinking about it, state what lessons you learned.
In the Bible, there are listed various elements that are to be stewarded:
- Spiritual Truths
- The Mysteries of God and the Gospel.
A final point to be made here is a call to be faithful as a steward. Perhaps the most pressing text to consider here is 2 Corinthians 5:10 – “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (NIV)