Well Done, Thou good and faithful Servant! What is the Definition of Stewardship?
By Bishop Demetri
Good evening! I am very happy to be here and speak to all of you on the subject of Christian Stewardship. For each one of us is called by God to be a steward.
What does stewardship mean? Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines it as follows:
… the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. –
When we act in the role of steward it means that we have been entrusted with something that does not belong to us. For instance, if you loan your car to me, both you and I would expect that I would take very good care of your vehicle. You may permit me to use it. However, you would expect me to take care of it and return it in substantially the same condition it was when you loaned it to me. This is an example of stewardship.
II.How does the term Stewardship apply to us as
How then does this concept of stewardship apply to us as Christians? First, and foremost, we are to understand that everything belongs to God! God is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. He created the universe, our world, all aspects of nature, including us. Life only happens when God decides that it is to happen. Simply stated, the doctrine of stewardship, as taught by Christ, means that our money, every penny, comes from God. Thus, a person’s duty is to return as much as possible during his lifetime. From this perspective, “he who dies rich – dies disgraced,” as Andrew Carnegie declared.
Yes, God has made us stewards of everything we possess! Not only our money, but our time, our breath, our very life, all that we have – has been given to us by God. Our Archdiocese’s Department ofStewardship’s pamphlet, entitled, “Standing Ready to Serve,” makes thesame point:
Life is a gift from God. All that we have in this life is part of that gift. Stewardship reinforces this belief and reminds us that our time, talents, and resources are the gifts through which we show our love and appreciation to God.
The Bible contains numerous references to the role of stewardship in the Church and to the importance of stewardship as a vehicle for living by Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, the essence of stewardship is discussed by St. Paul:
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of themysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
It is clear that God has made us stewards here on earth. In expressing our belief in Him, we automatically accept certain gifts and assume certain responsibilities.
Among the gifts are the guidance and comfort of our faith, and the promise of life everlasting. The responsibilities center on obeying God’s Word and living our lives according to His teachings. To aid us in the fulfillment of our responsibilities, each of us receives gifts from God in the form of unique abilities and talents. These are our tools to use as stewards or managers of God’s affairs while we dwell in this world.
III.What does Stewardship mean to us then?
What should all of this mean to us? The following list of statements are all different, each explaining the meaning of stewardship in a unique manner. They are all, however, valid, since they contain the essential elements of service and faith.
1. Christian Stewardship is our commitment to the giving of our time, talent, and material possessions. These are a trust from God to be used in His
name for the benefit of all mankind in grateful acknowledgement of Christ’s
2. Stewardship is being a responsible and concerned caretaker of Christ’s Church. It is also learning how to enjoy Church life and be happy in Church work.
3. Stewardship is the caring for the needs of one another.
4. Stewardship is offering of one’s self as Christ gave His life for us.
5. Stewardship is what a person does after saying “I Believe”, as proof of that belief.
6. Stewardship is being devoted and totally committed to serve God and His Church morally, spiritually, physically, and financially as an individual and collectively as a family unit.
Christian Stewardship could be defined as the effective commitment or investment of human and material resources in participation with Christ in his love for others.
Certainly this is not an exclusive list of definitions. It does demonstrate, however, that stewardship can be defined in many different ways. As long as the basic elements of stewardship are preserved – the careful and responsible care of something entrusted to us — definitions can legitimately vary, each designed to meet the needs of a specific set of circumstances.
How we use what God gives us is very important. Christ teaches us this spiritual truth in the parable of the Talents. In this parable a man gives to three of his servants a certain sum of money. To the first servant he gives 5 talents, to the second 2 talents, and to the third 1 talent. The first two servants invest the money and double the amount. However, the third servant buries his master’s money, and when his master returns he gives him back the single talent.
The master harshly reprimands the third servant for his failure to be a good steward, and even takes away his talent and gives it to the man who began with 5. And to the first two servants the Master says, “Well done thou good and faithful servants! You were faithful in little, now I will make you ruler over much!”
These are the words we must work to hear. We can only do so by taking what God has loaned to us, and giving back to Him, His Holy Church, and our needful brothers and sisters in Christ!
Stewardship is more than giving money, it is giving time and skills and prayer and thought to the church. It is more than giving to the Church; it is giving to all the good causes that will help bring salvation to the world. It also includes the way we earn our money and the ways we spend it.
Good stewardship means budgeting our time and energy and attention to evangelize the world; it means analyzing life’s priorities and counting costs; it means being aware that some day we shall have to give an account of ourselves before God. If that day were today, would we hear from God,
“Well done thou good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of thy Lord”:
“Thou wicked and slothful servant…[be ye thrown] into outer darkness: [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The choice is ours and ours alone!
May God’s name be glorified in us, and may His blessings be upon us!