The concept of faithful Stewardship in Christianity is derived from our understanding of God’s ownership of everything in creation. God is the creator and owner of everything in the entire universe. The first two chapters in the Bible are devoted to this theological truth. There are many verses in the Bible that speak of the same subject in diverse manners and ways. Only a few are cited below as ready references: Psalm 24:1 declares, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” “To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it”, asserts the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 10:14. Job, the ancient sage wrote of God saying, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay. Everything under heaven belongs to me.” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”, proclaimed the resurrected Lord Christ in the last book of the Bible, in 22: 13. Man is given the holy responsibility of stewarding God’s creation, his resources and properties faithfully for his benefit and enjoyment individually as well as community and collectively. The theological understanding of God being the Creator and the sovereign of all his creation, his holiness and love for all and we are his co-workers in faithfully managing all things. This thesis under guards
The theme of our stewardship of resources that are entirely belonged to God and not to anyone of us, human persons. We are supposed to be users of God’s resources.
Man is the vice-regent or caliph of God creation as the crown of creation. He is God’s steward. A steward is one who manages or handles affairs for someone else who is the actual owner of that property or affairs, and so on and so forth. We are to utilize and manage all resources God provides for his glory and for the good of all creation. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
John Edmund Haggai, a Christian leader of renown said, “Faithful stewardship of life leads to complete fulfillment, the enlarged life; failure in stewardship impoverishes robbing life of its potential.”
When God created man and commanded him to subdue and have dominion over his creation he did not mean any kind of rivalry between Man and the rest of God’s creation. The command or mandate to Mankind was given before sin entered the world. So it was a sacred mandate for a sacred purpose. The problem with us lies in the fact that we want to become the master or owner of creation while we are not! We need to seriously consider the truth that we, as God’s creation are parts of entire creation, not as master or lord over any other. We are all part of nature. We harm it, we harm our own existence. What we experience in our world today amply testifies to that hard reality.
We are born into this world empty handed and when we die and leave this world we do not take anything with us. The world remains behind us. We need to have a sacred view of everything in life that is unselfish and undefiled. We need to view resources as the Creator himself views: Good! Our attitude to life and things governs the way we manage things. Things are neutral. Our attitude decides right or wrong use of them. Everything belongs to God. We are just loaned to what belongs to God, and also to our future generations. The world has enough for every body’s need, but not for everybody’s greed. These profound words are said by M.K. Gandhi. This is true. God has given into this world for fulfilling everybody’s genuine needs, but there is not enough for satisfying everybody’s whims and lusts.
So we need to have a just and good attitude, and attitude of rightness and respect and consideration for others. Because God created everything good and right we should view them likewise. A new paradigm for a new world! We need a sense of solidarity, a sense of oneness because stewardship does not imply only responsible use of time, talent, treasures, trustworthiness and task. It means all. It is life indeed, life in fullness in relation to God and others.
The writer is a Christian theology teacher and church leader