Around the age of thirteen, I was asked by our neighbor if I would be responsible for watching their dog while they were out of town on a family summer vacation. It would become my responsibility to ride my bike the mile or so to their house every day, let myself in, let the dog out, and while the dog was running off its pent-up energy, I would make sure it had fresh water and food in its dish. I was expected to do this at least once if not twice per day for a whole week. When the family returned, I received a surprise gift of a cedar jewelry box. Just like I was responsible for watching the neighbor’s dog, God has called all of us similarly; to be watchers over His possessions.
From the time of the Garden of Eden God instituted Adam (man) to have dominion over, or be a steward over, God’s creation. This has been the call of man ever since. Whether we are good stewards or bad stewards depends on how we handle ourselves in all areas of our lives, especially our finances. The dictionary defines a steward as a man [person] who manages another’s property. God gives us His property to manage or be stewards over.
Since we are stewards, we need to remember that stewards are not owners. The Bible tells us that the Earth and everything in it belongs to God. (Psalm 24:1) Just like with my dog-watching job, I knew that the dog I was responsible for belonged to someone else. It was simply my job to take good care of their property so when the family returned, everything was well. I was working for someone else, which caused me to be careful and want to do a good job. And besides, I knew that if I didn’t do a good job, it would be evident to the owner when they returned to a sickly, hungry animal.
Handling and managing our finances is an on the job training course in stewardship. God is concerned about not only how we do this job, but if we improve. See Luke 19:11-26. Taking into account all of the decisions necessary in maintaining our finances can be overwhelming. But realizing our position as manager and God’s position as owner of everything, even if we claim things to be ours, can make financial decisions so much easier. We just need to make sure we’re doing as the Owner expects us to do.
God wants faithful stewards, someone in whom He can entrust His most costly possessions. It is always God’s goal to nurture and grow faithfulness in His stewards. He wants trustworthy servants that He knows will take care of His business while He’s away. It’s not because He can’t handle it, but to build a richness of faithfulness in His servants. This faithfulness is a treasure richer than gold, and we as servants can receive this gift when we honor God with our finances.
Our reward for managing what God gives us is great. God tells us that when we are faithful with few things, He will put us in charge of many things. (Matt. 25:21). God wants to build our character to increase our blessings. When we look at our checkbook and our financial commitments, the more we honor God with it, the more He honors us. And the rewards we get for being a faithful steward over His resources will be far greater than a cedar jewelry box.