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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Greek - stewardship
STEWARDSHIP

Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.

Old Testament Stewardship Stewardship permeates the pages of the Bible because how we respond to God is at the heart of the Book. Often, stewardship is thought of only in terms of finances, but the Bible teaches that stewardship is a far greater concept, involving how we respond with all of our life to Him who is the giver and sustainer of life?

When God created humans, He made them to have “dominion” over all of the earth (Genesis 1:26). Dominion was not intended to be domination or exploitation. Dominion was God's call for human beings to be good and gracious managers of God's creation. Unfortunately, the sin of humanity interrupted God's plans for His world. Humankind became selfish, seeing the world as a means to its own self-centered ends. The things of the world were now seen as possessions with humans as owners, not as God's stewards. God's intention for His world did not change. He still desired that people see God as the Lord of everything and themselves as the managers of God's creation.

New Testament Stewardship The call to absolute commitment to Christ is the central theme of the New Testament (Mark 8:34-36). Jesus asked for obedience to God's original intention for the world. Jesus was calling for a radical reversal of the world's values (profit) and a revolutionary return to God's purpose (lose life for My sake). Jesus never seemed to be satisfied with a slice of the pie of our obedience. He did not rejoice in the tithe or a big offering as much as He did in the sacrificial, complete giving of a widow. but Jesus called all disciples to absolute surrender of ourselves and our substance to Him.

The early church certainly saw all that it had as a gift from God for the good of each other. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).

Of course, our economic system and sheer numbers of people today prevent this kind of complete sharing, but the amazing thing was the attitude of the church members to what they possessed. They saw none of it as their own. All of it came from the loving heart of God. That is why the sin of selfishness of Ananias and Sapphira was so serious (Acts 5:1).

The apostle Paul preached and taught a single-minded commitment to Christ. He reminded the Philippians that the source of thanksgiving was not in things but in our relationship to God in Christ (Philippians 3:13-14).

Thus, the New Testament concept of stewardship centers in our commitment to Jesus Christ. When He becomes our Lord, He becomes Lord of our time, talents, finances, and everything. We realize that we are not our own, but we are bought with a price.

Charles Bugg


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'STEWARDSHIP'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<http://classic.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T6020>. 1991.

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