Whenever I get confused about where I am on an issue, I like to go back to square one. I want to go back to the beginning of the process and retrace my steps. Sometimes, remembering the first question and the curiosity that drove the process helps me refocus and find the right answer.
Right now, it seems everyone is confused about stewardship. Most people hear the word “stewardship” and think it’s about money. That’s wrong. Sure, faithful stewardship includes our finances, but it is about much, much more than just money. When we get hung up thinking stewardship is just about money, we end up getting stuck on technical questions like “What is a tithe?” and “Is the tithe off the gross or the net?”
See what I mean? Let’s go back to square one. So where is square one for stewardship? In Genesis. Pretty much everything has at least part of square one in Genesis. It’s where everything begins. In Genesis 2:15 we read, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.” In one sentence, we pretty much have everything we need to know about stewardship. And what is it we find out in this verse?
First, God made everything, so God owns everything. The garden belongs to God. Adam works there, but he doesn’t own it.
Second, Adam is the steward of the garden. God entrusted Adam to care for the garden and watch over it. The goal of a steward is to maximize the master’s investment. Success depended on Adam understanding what God wanted from His garden then working the garden so it fulfilled God’s desire. Adam would be held accountable against God’s vision for the garden and his actual work in the garden.
Third, being a steward defined everything about Adam. Even Adam’s relationship with Eve was framed by stewardship. He would have seen Eve as a gift from God and understood it was his job to maximize his wife’s potential. (That will transform your thinking about marriage!)
There is no greater honor than working with God to fulfill the dreams He has for His creation. Being a good steward is more than just being a good tither. It’s being a trusted servant whom God can count on to fulfill His dreams for what He has created. Stewardship is what gives meaning, direction, joy and purpose to our lives. There is no higher calling.