Monday: Stewards in the New Testament

The two basic words for “steward”

in the New Testament are epitropos, occurring three times, and oikonomos, occurring 10 times. Both these words describe positions that incorporate managerial responsibilities entrusted to the steward by the owner.

Paul on Christian Stewardship

Image © Providence Coll. Goodsalt.com

In both the New and Old Testaments, stewards are defined by what they do. The New Testament specifically describes the steward in terms of accountability (Luke 12:48) and expectations (1 Cor. 4:2). The Old Testament, though, is more focused on declaring God’s ownership than directly defining us as His stewards. Thus, while the concept of a steward is very similar for both Testaments, the New Testament expands the concept beyond just household management.

In the parable of the dishonest steward (Luke 16:1-15), Jesus expands the definition of steward. His lesson is about more than a steward escaping financial disaster. It is also applicable to those escaping spiritual disaster through a wise manifestation of faith. A wise steward will prepare for the future of Jesus’ return beyond the here and now (Matt. 25:21).

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; Titus 1:7; and 1 Peter 4:10. What do they tell us about stewards and stewardship?

“Shall I open my heart to the Holy Spirit, that every faculty and energy may be aroused, which God has given me in trust? I am Christ’s property, and am employed in His service. I am a steward of His grace.” – Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 301.

In Luke 12:35-48, Jesus also uses the term “steward” metaphorically. He tells of the wise steward being ready for the Son of man’s return, and describes the unfaithful steward as one who has given up caring because the master has delayed His return. The unfaithful steward has turned into a tyrant and has become abusive to those around him. He is no longer a pattern of good works or a manager of grace.

When we accept Christ, we are stewards, called to manage God’s resources. But more important, we are to manage the spiritual realities of the Christian life in preparation for heaven.

Read Luke 12:45. Why must we as Seventh-day Adventists, who often struggle with a sense of “delay,” be especially careful about falling into this deception?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons