Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37.5
In classical Greece, the word most closely associated with what we call “stewardship” was oeconomia, the job of the person charged with care of a household. “Household” in this instance meant real property, including the land and all the improvements on it, and it meant the protection of a family as well.
The word “Steward” appeared for the first time in English about a thousand years ago. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in this early use a steward was “an official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master’s table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditures….”
The original written form of steward is stigweard. Stig meant a domestic building; weard meant guard—the word from which “warden” is derived. The earliest use of the word makes it clear that the property over which the steward has responsibility is not the steward’s property, but the master’s.
We often associate stewardship with congregational financial giving. But the real meaning of the word, and the concept, is something far greater. Christian stewardship is a worldview. It is a lifestyle. One in which we understand that our great privilege and responsibility in this life is tending to God’s property.
And ‘God’s property’ is an exhaustive term. It includes everything. All that we possess materially. And all living things. The trees, the rivers, the people, the pets, the mountains – all of these things belong to God. Our job is to take care of them. And to put them to uses which honor God. We are the stewards of the household of God.
At Christ Church, this means that we have a particular responsibility to nurture the faith of the people who participate in the life of our church, and people with whom we make an impact. To a meaningful degree, we are stewards of their faith.
Consider all the people and things which God has placed in your care. Spouses and children, colleagues and pets, property and possessions, time and money. Commit your way to the Lord, and tend them with love and great care.
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