Total-Life Stewardship

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  • iStock_000016962400XSmallThe bottom line of Christian stewardship can be succinctly summarized in four words: God owns it all! The psalmist rightfully audited God’s assets: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).

    Everything we possess is a grace gift from God that we must manage faithfully. Paul explained, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor. 5:10).

    Mark it down: stewardship is about much more than tithes and offerings. It involves every facet of life. Ultimately, there is no discipleship where there is no stewardship. Jesus asked, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)

    Consider these seven areas of total-life stewardship and strive to submit to the Lordship of Christ in every area of your life.

    The Stewardship Of Your Time. Time is life. We live our lives confined to the passing moments of our brief time on this earth. And that time passes really fast. So it is vital that we make the most of every opportunity. This doesn’t happen through time-management techniques or timesaving technologies. It only happens as a result of a high view of God. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus was never in a hurry, but he always had the time to do God’s will? In contrast, we are always in a hurry and rarely have time to do God’s will. We need to learn how to pray with Moses: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

    The Stewardship Of Your Relationships. Did you know that your relationships are a gift from God? I know that it may not seem that way with some of the people you have to deal with. But it’s true. Even difficult people are providentially placed in your life for your sanctification. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is cultivated in the soil of relationships. You are only responsible for your role in your relationships. And to do this faithfully, you must focus on your character and the other person’s needs, not vice versa.

    The Stewardship Of Your Finances. Many people think their problems would be solved if they had more money. And they fail to realize that the key issue with God is not how much they have, but what they do with what they have. Jesus says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”(Luke 16:10-13).

    The Stewardship Of Your Body. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). How can we become good stewards of our bodies? First, strive for health. But, moreover, strive for holiness. Paul advised Timothy to “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:7b-8).

    The Stewardship Of Your Speech. Words are powerful. It has been said that words are like nitroglycerin: they can either blow up bridges or heal hearts. No wonder God places such a premium on the words we speak. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36). And Paul admonished, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).

    The Stewardship Of Your Gifts. The NT doesn’t say anything about how to discover one’s spiritual gifts. But it is clear about two things: (1) every Christian has received at least one spiritual gift; and (2) we are accountable to God for the proper use of those gifts. Peter instructs,  ”As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:10-11).

    The Stewardship Of Your Witness. Howard Hendricks said that many Christians are like bad photographs: overexposed and underdeveloped. But Christ calls us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world to the glory of God (Matt. 5:13-16). So we must guard our witness. Paul writes, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

    May you one day hear the Lord Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.