Friday: Further Thought – Stewards After Eden

Further Thought: The word translated as “steward” in a few Old Testament texts comes, not from a single word but from a phrase: asher al bayt, the “one who is on or over a house.” For example, Genesis 43:19 can be translated: “When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of the house” (NKJV).

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Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

 If one considers that the family that resides in the house is part of the house itself, then what is more valuable to a person than their own home? Hence, a steward is someone being entrusted with something very valuable that, nevertheless, does not belong to him. In many ways, that makes the responsibility even greater than it would be if the steward were in charge of his or her own possessions.

This same idea is continued in the New Testament as well. “The NT takes OT ideas and joins them with first-century ideas, concepts, and words, thus enriching and enlarging the biblical teaching on stewardship. The most common Greek words used in relationship with stewardship are derived from oikos and oikia, ‘house.’ The oikonomos is one who keeps the house: the steward or manager. Oikonomiais the abstract noun, ‘management of the house,’ the meaning of which is often much broader.” – Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2000), p. 653.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Instead of taking responsibility for eating the forbidden fruit, what did Adam say to God when asked about what he had done? Gen. 3:12. How interesting that one of the earliest human responses brought about by sin is to seek to shift the blame from oneself to another. What does his response say about his willingness to accept personal responsibility for his actions? What should it tell us about our own willingness as well? How can we learn to avoid the common trait of blaming others for our mistakes?
  2. In class, dwell more on the idea of being stewards of things that are not tangible but spiritual. What does that mean? How do we “manage” these things?
  3. Think about the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12. What important truths are expressed there of which we have been given the responsibility to be stewards?
  4. Why is it so important for us to learn to trust in and believe in spiritual things that we don’t fully understand? In what worldly ways do we do that all the time anyway?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons