When most of us hear the word stewardship, we often think of increase. Luke 19 tells us of a servant who was put in charge of a certain amount of silver. When the king returned and asked for an accounting, this servant reported, “I invested your money and made ten times the original amount.” (v.16, NLT) The king said, “Well done. You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.” (v.17, NLT)
It’s easy to think of this reward as increase. But there is much more implied here just as there is much more than increase in good stewardship.
Good stewardship also brings responsibility as God trusts us with more of his stuff. We have to manage the reward as well as we managed what He initially gave us. He does not give us the reward to do with as we please. This is not “give to get” theology. It’s part of His calling to increase His kingdom.
And it’s all His stuff.
Putting God first and recognizing it all belongs to him liberates us from the fear of loss and insufficiency. If it’s our stuff, we might exhaust it or fritter it away. His stuff never runs out.
The idea of stewardship bringing responsibility as well as reward is clear in a couple of other Scriptures.
Matthew 25:21 NLT(emphasis added) “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”
Matthew 24:45 NLT (emphasis added) A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.
As for the servant in Luke 19, being governor of ten cities carries as much, if not more, responsibility as it does reward.
Stewardship calls for us to manage what God has given us initially through our tithe and wisely handling the other resources He provides. It also makes us responsible for what we do with the rewards He gives us.
Faithful stewardship is a blessing, an honor, and a responsibility.
I pray we all practice it with His wisdom and grace.
For more insights into stewardship and living the life of a steward, I highly recommend Beyond Blessed by Pastor Robert Morris.