What does stewardship really mean?

Elmer Towns and John Maxwell

At her death on March 30, 1975, most people assumed Bertha Adams was poor. An autopsy revealed she had severe malnutrition and evidences of poverty were abundant in her disheveled apartment. Lack of heat, lack of food, lack of the basic necessities of life – there could only be one conclusion. Bertha Adams was an obvious example of one who was missed by the national safety net of social spending.

But then, while taking inventory of her personal effects, authorities found two keys. Trusting a hunch, they took the keys to a neighborhood bank and found her safety deposit box stuffed with $799,000 in cash. Also, crammed into that box were hundreds of valuable and negotiable stock certificates, bonds and other securities.

Bertha Adams had a stewardship problem.

She viewed possessions as something to be hoarded. She did not understand that the blessings of life were given to her to be used and invested rather than to keep. Bertha Adams did not understand that the purpose of life was to manage her resources, not selfishly to hold on to them.

God has given us things in this life not to hoard, but to manage for His glory.

One of the titles of the Christian in the New Testament is the term “steward.” The Greek word oikonomos (steward) is a compound word derived from the term for house (oikos) and the verb to arrange (nemo). The word oikonomos was a servant designated as the manager of a household, estate or other affairs of his master.

Each Christian is a steward of all the resources God has given us, including time, talent and treasure.

A good steward manages his or her time, talent and treasure for the glory of God.

But like Bertha Adams, there are many Christians who have misunderstood stewardship and are poor managers of the resources of God under our control.

If we are confused and frustrated in our stewardship of financial resources, it may be because we see them primarily as permanent personal assets that someone—the tax collector, the bill collector, the greedy, or even those who solicit donations for worthy causes—is trying to take away from us.

Stewardship is the management of God’s resources.



9780941005210For more, read the book from which this article was adapted: God Is Able: A Guide to Biblical Stewardship, by Elmer Towns and John Maxwell.

Learn to trust God to provide all your needs and discover what stewardship is all about. Only $4.99, as low as $2.99 with Bulk Pricing for Groups More…

giving, invest, resource management, stewards, stewardship, tithe, treasure
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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Pastor Naomi Ruth
    March 24, 2015 8:18 am

    The article was truly an eye opener for me. Working with the right principles will certainly bring about better results. Working on me: Thank you

  • Betty Akoteu
    May 1, 2016 6:20 pm

    AM just amazed that stewarship is not only just being good in keeping some money but also in giving, especially to the work that God has entrusted you. What an eye opener to me. Am blessed and thank you.

  • Ernest Richardson
    April 22, 2017 4:44 pm

    Psalm 24:1 states quite clearly, that the earth is the Lords and the fullness there of.
    Everything in it, and all the people belong to Him.
    I believe that we need to open our eyes to this fact and consider the vastness of the Lords kingdom on earth. We are more than stewards of our resources and the 10 acres around us. With our gifts, talents and treasure we have been called to build a kingdom, His kingdom and He has given us all we need to do it, if we would work together as a unified body.
    What if we dedicated ourselves to building the Lords kingdom instead of Satan’s.
    What if God’s scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, chiefs, builders,teachers and on and on. Pursued taking this promised land back and became great stewards for God’s kingdom?
    We need to think bigger and greater than we have in the past if we are ever going to fulfill MT 28:18-19.
    To also care for the widows, orphans, the poor, elderly and all the injustice in this country along takes great resources.
    So let’s think about stewardship in our homes our churches, but together lets come together and be great stewards in and for God’s kingdom.

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