“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10).
In modern church literature, the term “stewardship” has become largely concerned with giving money, but not so in the Bible. Everything we have—not only money, but also life, time, talents, and especially the great gift of God’s grace in all of its fullness—has been committed to us in trust from God, to be used for Him. We are His stewards, and a steward was, simply, a trusted servant to whom his master committed the charge of all his household and business affairs, and even the education of his children. Everything was “dispensed” into the steward’s care by his master. In fact, the same Greek word is also translated “dispensation.”
Paul said, for example, that he had been given a “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), and also a “dispensation of the gospel” (I Corinthians 9:17). He cautioned that “a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, . . . Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” (Titus 1:7,9). He said that he and other Christian workers were “stewards of the mysteries of God” (I Corinthians 4:1).
All of this and more is involved in our Christian stewardship, and “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2). In His parable of the stewards (Luke 12:42–48), the Lord promised that a “faithful and wise steward” would be made “ruler over all that he hath” (vv.42,44), but that an unfaithful steward would be appointed “his portion with the unbelievers” (v.46).
God’s grace has “manifold” ramifications, said Peter, and each of us has received His “gift,” which enables us to share in its ministry (or “service”). Let us, therefore, “be faithful” as “good stewards.” HMM