What does it mean to be a good steward? What does that concept even mean and why should we care? For most of us the concept of caring for what you have been given charge over comes to mind. For example, if you are asked to house-sit for a family member while they are on vacation, the expectation would be when they return their home is in good condition, clean, and nothing is broken. That means you didn’t host a party, trash the place, and leave them regretting they trusted you. Or if a parent or relative dies and they have placed you in charge of carrying out their will, that means you faithfully execute what they have wished for and accomplish all that they have laid out in the will. I would say these examples pretty accurately capture what most of us would believe a good steward looks like.
The Bible gives us a directly applicable example of what being a good steward looks like in the Parable of the Talents. The full parable can be read here. In this parable, a man departs on a journey and while he is gone, he assigns a certain number of “talents” to each of his servants to care for while he is gone. Upon returning, he finds that two servants traded and invested with the talents and grew the amount they were entrusted with. However, one servant buried the talent in the ground and returned that to his master upon his return. The master’s reaction to the two servants who grew his wealth was proclaiming “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And the master’s reaction to the servant who hid his wealth was “You wicked and slothful servant!”.
This passage is a very interesting one to unpack. Most would react that the master’s response to the servant who hid the talent is pretty harsh. He seemed to have done what was asked, keeping the master’s wealth safe; after all, he didn’t lose it. But the point being made is very clear, we have been given a number of “talents” and have been called to be good stewards with these in the name of our master. The number of talents given to each individual may vary greatly, but the calling is the same. It is also worth noting for consideration that the term “talents” is not purely meant to be a financial one. Financial is simply the analogy used in this parable, which is common for Biblical parables. This parable can be appropriately applied to our other gifts as well, such as our time, skills, abilities, etc. However, in this series of articles, we will be applying the parable to finances.
To apply this parable to finances leads us to conclude that we are called to increase our wealth. It can be said of almost anyone reading this that we have been given much financially. We may at times have financial struggles, need a tight budget, or not know how we are going to pay certain bills, but compared to historical standards and in comparison to much of the rest of the world, we have great wealth to begin with.
This also gives us a clear picture of why we should care. For a Christian, the directive is a clear one from God. We are called throughout scripture to work, work hard, and make the most out of what we are given. For the non-believer, this may be a purely selfish pursuit; and yet it is a very worthy pursuit nonetheless. Who does not desire to increase their wealth?
Throughout this series of articles we are going to explore this idea of being a good steward with our finances in greater detail. We will first look at the topic of saving money; are we saving enough and how to go about achieving this. We will then look at the many ways we may be wasting money, common pitfalls, and how to get back on track. Next we will explore the topic of growing our wealth, various ways of investing, or putting our finances to work. And lastly we will dive into the end result; what do we do with wealth we have created.
If you enjoyed this article and want to access more content like this, please subscribe below for email updates.
Leave a Reply