Christians through the ages have been known by many names both fair and foul. While in the first century they were often referred to as followers of the Way, most frequently today they are called believers. Another name sometimes applied by Christians themselves is stewards. What is a steward? By definition, a steward was originally a butler or chamberlain, employed by someone to manage their domestic concerns, superintend the other servants, and to collect rents and keep accounts. It was a position of confidence and trust, loyalty and honesty. Stewards serve other’s best interests as if they were serving their own.
In the Pastoral Epistles Paul writes that bishops “must be blameless, as the stewards of God”. (Titus 1:7) As one of God’s servants, he (it reads bishop but should apply to any pastorate position) needs to conduct himself without hypocrisy and with the highest Biblical standard; to live like Jesus who personified blamelessness. It is not easy.
“Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.”(I Cor 4:2) This attribute of stewards is addressed to more than just the pastor, faithfulness is for every Christian. It is being true to Jesus Christ and to the character that should make up all who name his name as their own. In just the verse before Paul calls believers “the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” That we are ministers or servants of Christ is readily understood, but what are these mysteries, or hidden truths, of God? II Cor 4:3-4 says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” God isn’t hiding anything from us; it’s Satan that doesn’t want you to know or understand God’s Word because he’s the one who loses if you do. And part of this mystery is the fact that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” (v 7) God chooses to work his work through these fallible, earthen vessels; fragile, emotional, sometimes cowardly, people, his appointed stewards. It’s no wonder that Peter remarked that God’s preferred methods cause the angels to desire to look into it. (I Peter 1:12) They don’t understand how it could work either.
But it has and it does and it has continued to work for two thousand years. “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) “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:48)
A Christian needs to reflect upon what he is doing with the treasure he has been given. Is he being a good steward or an inattentive babysitter? Will the Lord of the Harvest say of you as he said in Matt 25:21, “Thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” He will if you have been a trustworthy steward in both word and deed.