God’s plan is to entrust each of us as stewards to develop people and resources for His Kingdom purposes. As we are faithful, God will reward our obedience to Him.
Stewardship encompasses every aspect of the Christian life. God created everything, and therefore He owns everything. Since we don’t really own anything, we are stewards of what He gives us and act as managers of His assets.
In Matthew 25:14-29, Jesus tells a parable that lays the foundation for genuine stewardship. In the story, the Master entrusts three servants with a sum of money “according to their ability.” The Master fully expected each servant to be fruitful and productive with the resources they were given.
Key Principle: Faithful Stewardship Precedes Promotion
At the end of the parable referenced above, the Master returns to see what His servants have done with the assets he entrusted to them. To the first one who increased his wealth and stewarded faithfully, the Master says: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25:21)
God is looking for us to be faithful in the small things now so He can entrust us with greater things in the future. God gives every person certain things on loan from Him. He wants us to manage those things and bring Him a return on His investment.
Some of the things we must manage well for God’s purposes are:
|At a Personal Level:||At a Business Level:|
|Skills and Abilities||Property and Buildings|
|Our Physical Bodies|
|The Message of the Gospel|
We are each responsible for using the resources that God gives to each of us. The example in the parable is that God gave different resources to different people and did not expect them to all produce the same results. He did expect that each person would be equally faithful to steward the resources God entrusted to him. What God gives is to be developed and used. The ones who produced with what they had were promoted to higher levels.
Key Principle: God Rewards Faithfulness
The reward from the Master to those who were faithful stewards in Matthew 25 is:
- Praise: “well done”
- Promotion: “I will make you ruler of more”
- Deeper relationship: “enter into my joy”
The Master was well pleased with those who took what He gave them and produced more. He honoured them by verbally acknowledging their faithfulness. He promoted them to higher
levels of authority. And He allowed them to come closer to Him relationally. As we steward our lives and resources for God’s glory, He will do the same for us.
Cultivating Stewardship In Life And Business
God expects us to faithfully manage and increase what He has given us. As we align ourselves with His purposes, He gives us the strength and ability to fulfil His will. Our business and its resources are on loan to us by God to manage. He longs to be an active partner in our business with us.
In the parable, the faithful servants immediately got to work with the master’s money. They sensed an urgency to grow and develop what they had been given. In life and business, we are expected to be excellent stewards. A business person is constantly growing and developing his or her business. As good stewards of business, we should be asking ourselves these questions concerning our resources:
- Am I operating within the calling, vision and business plan that God has given me for
- Do I have the correct property, buildings, and equipment to carry out the vision for this
- Do I have the right employees and do they possess the intelligence, skills, and training to
execute the business plan?
- Does my business honour our customers?
- Do I have a good reputation for paying my bills on time and keeping promises to suppliers?
- Do I make the best use of time?
- Am I wise and efficient with my money?
- Am I active and verbal in living out my faith with those I touch?
Responsible business owners are always thinking ahead and looking for new opportunities. We must be those who are ready to face new challenges and be alert to new opportunities.
Poor Stewardship Vs. Godly Stewardship
The unfaithful servant does not work with his resources and therefore becomes useless to his master. In looking at the story in Matthew 25, the poor steward makes excuses and lives in fear.
Excuses are a result of not getting the job done. Poor stewardship comes in the forms of laziness, poor planning, and fear. The poor steward was harshly rebuked by his Master because he did nothing with the talents entrusted to him. Instead of working hard to bring a return, he buried the talents and gave no effort. His laziness and fear caused fruitlessness. The Master’s reaction might have been quite different had the poor steward at least made a genuine effort in faith to produce.
The master praises the good servants for being faithful, not for being shrewd, profitable, or for their results. As Kingdom businesspeople, our aim should be to honour God through faithful, fruitful stewardship of all He entrusts to us. According to our abilities, with the aid of God’s Spirit, we are to manage people and things well.
- Pray and ask God about what resources He is giving you to steward.
- Examine your own personal and business practices to see if you are allowing the Holy
Spirit to lead you as you manage each of the resources entrusted to you.
- Dedicate yourself to being faithful in all things and to Kingdom purposes and know that
God will reward you with His praise, promotion, and favour.