Christian Principles of Stewardship

The Importance of Household and Financial Management

Stewardship, by Biblical definition, simply refers to the management of household and financial matters. A steward is a manager, one who is faithful, diligent, has impeccable integrity and honesty, and is skillfully competent.

Psalm 24:1 declares that "The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness." Therefore, the responsibility of a Christian steward is the God-given privilege to manage a part of God's property. Without this foundational perspective, life's work becomes nothing more than a selfish pursuit.

The following are several areas that Christians can put the Christian principle of stewardship into practice.

Work vs. Laziness
God built into man the ability and the need to work. It's the one thing a man can do hour after hour, day after day. Work keeps a man's mind healthy. It is essential as an exchange for one's livelihood. No man enjoys being unemployed or unemployable, because God formed man with the natural desire to work.

God also designed man to need times of rest and refreshing, but that time should not be an excuse for laziness. In the 6th century, sloth, or laziness, was taught as one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Sloth was described as "the only sin characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love, the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts, an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care." Observing the poor quality of lazy people's lives should warn the Christian steward to avoid that path.

In contrast, the Christian steward loves God, his wife and his children, and passionately desires to provide the best possible lifestyle for his family. This love motivates him to get up and go to work every day, a duty which he willingly accepts.

Sowing and Reaping
For the farmer, the most important component is the seed. All the soil preparation, fertilization, sunshine and water won't help if the seed is of poor quality. In life, if the crop is unsatisfactory, it is essential to pay more attention to the quality and quantity of the seed sown.

Sowing includes giving money, time, talents and resources. Giving should be done with cheerfulness, and it is not to be burdensome or grievous. For today's churches and assemblies to thrive, money is necessary. With this in mind, there is no more important contribution to be made than to God's business. Proverbs teaches to "honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase." Prosperity is the guaranteed harvest.

Planning and Prioritizing
Think on paper. Planning saves time and time is not money, but life itself. Organizing priorities clarifies and places what is most important ahead of what is less important. Determining the most valuable use of time each moment of each hour of each day is recommended to achieve one's goals and be most productive. "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty."(Proverbs 21:5)

Budgeting and Accounting
By definition, budgeting is a detailed estimate of probable income and expenses and a plan of action based on the estimate. As manager of family monetary details, it is important to know what's coming in, what's going out and where it's going! Whatever accounting method one may prefer, it helps to visually track where money is going by category, identifying expenditures that may not be necessary, and transferring funds to other categories. Becoming proficient at budgeting and accounting takes time and faithfulness, but like anything, improvement comes with regular practice.

Owing money is burdensome, but with a plan and discipline, it is available to reduce and ultimately eliminate debt. Although sometimes challenging, the principles of sowing and reaping, and of giving and receiving, are vital to one's financial success and freedom, and must not take a back seat to debt payoff plans. Godly counsel is available, and worth pursuing. Financial debt should not become an obstacle to Christian service.

There is no sin in having money. The sin is in loving money more than loving God. The one who loves money will never be satisfied, and enough is never enough. God does want His people to live abundantly in every category, but not be in bondage. It is the steward's privilege and joy to act as an agent or conduit for God's abundance to distribute according to needs as they arise.

Excellence in monetary matters, and handling of resources should be an impressive part of a Christian's testimony. Seeking Godly counsel in order to continuously improve in all areas of stewardship is imperative. Faithfulness as a Christian steward is a requirement, not an option.

Written by: Pete Miller