“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1(NASB)
This weekend, I had a good friend over at my house for lunch and coffee. It was actually our first time getting together, but we instantly became close. You know those people you just automatically click with? That was definitely the case with us. It felt so good to not only spend time with a new friend but to also bounce spiritual ideas back and forth. Iron sharpens iron, right?
One of the things she said while we were chatting really stuck with me. She related it to her marriage, but I was able to apply it differently. How awesome is it when God does that? She said, “when God shows me something first, I’ve learned that means He wants me to be the one to start applying it.” So true, right?
It just kept playing in my mind. Then I started hearing the word “steward.” He wants me to steward the ideas He has revealed to me. When He shows me His view on something, He has entrusted me as its steward in my circle of influence. Then I read this post from Amber Picota, and it confirmed what I was hearing.
How to be a Good Steward: Stewardship Defined
What exactly is stewardship? I don’t know about you, but I nerd out when uncovering the mysteries of the Word. So I pulled out my Strong’s Concordance and my Bible and got to work. The word “steward” is only used a few times in the New Testament. All of those instances occur either in the parables given by Jesus or in the letters written by Paul and Peter. The original word in the Greek, oikonomos, and its derivatives all relate to being a manager, administrator, overseer, distributor for the house of the master, guardian, and (my personal favorite) a treasurer.
To illuminate the meaning, I want to direct our attention to a parable of Jesus in Luke:
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.'” Luke 12:42-44 (NKJV)
What does all of that mean? Let’s start with the descriptors of this steward.
Faithful in this instance means the steward is trustworthy and faithful to complete the duties assigned to him/her. Wise refers to being thoughtful. It’s having a cautious character. This wise steward is prudent. He/she does not squander the goods of the master but uses them effectively and in due season.
Because this steward is faithful and wise, the master makes him/her ruler over the household. There is an increase in responsibility because they can be trusted. As in another parable referencing stewardship, those who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much (Luke 16:10). Being a faithful and wise steward in the house of our Master means a promotion in Kingdom responsibility. No matter how small, it’s important to be trustworthy with whatever God gives to us, treating even the little things as we would treat the big things.
Let’s be clear, we are not being trustworthy to prove anything to God. He knows our hearts, and He knows if we’re trustworthy or not. We are proving our trustworthiness through stewardship, but it’s a testament to ourselves and to those watching us. We’re proving to our human eyes and minds what God already knows. When He increases our responsibility, we’ll be able to logically follow why. We proved to ourselves that we could be trusted with little, then God promoted us to being responsible for much.
The Treasure Under our Care
The riches entrusted to us by our Master are far greater than money or food. We have been entrusted with His glory! We are carriers of His message and truth, each with our own assignment or duty to execute. When we faithfully and wisely dole out what we’ve been given to steward, allowing others to feed on it and receive sustenance by it, we are entrusted with even more. His glory, which is revealed in different ways through each one of us, is what we have been given.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:6-7(NJKV, emphasis mine)
Our hearts were dark until the light of God shone in them through acceptance of Jesus and the sealing of the Holy Spirit to our own spirit. Through Him, we were then exposed to the glory of God. That’s the treasure. We may just be earthly vessels, but the Spirit of the One Holy God has been imparted to us so it can shine even more brightly. His ability to live within imperfect people proves His power! He took one of the three components that make us up (our spirit) and made it perfect so He could live in us.
Of course, it’s by the power of God that this happens. But we have a choice. Even after accepting the Truth that gives salvation, we can still choose to do nothing about it. We can ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He sets out to transform us, grow us, and reveal glory to us. Or we can be prudent treasurers and steward the glory He reveals.
Explanation of Glory
So what is the “glory of God?” The truth is, I could fill an infinite number of blog posts with information and speculation regarding God’s glory, and it still would only cover just a tip of the iceberg. But we each have our own piece of glory to reveal. There is plenty of pie for all of us to share on this one!
Though there are multiple forms of glory in the Word, they all stem from one glory. That glory, as I previously mentioned, is the doxa of God. This word is derived from a verb that means “to think.” The doxa of God, then, is the glory that stems from the way He thinks; it’s His view and His opinion. On Mount Sinai when the shekinah glory was radiating off of Moses’s face, it was because He had just received the doxa of God. In countless Old Testament Scriptures, when the kabod glory–a weighty, tangible glory–was present, it was because of God’s presence. His holy view and opinion was weighing heavy in the immediate atmosphere.
What God wants to reveal through us is the way that He thinks.
As my pastor often quotes:
“It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)
This is why Scripture speaks of the “mysteries” of God. There are truths that have been concealed by God, and it’s our duty to search them out.
Ever wondered why humans love a good mystery? It’s in our DNA. We were wired to want to search for and find truth. As we find new pieces of the puzzle and begin to get a clearer picture, a thrill shoots through our bodies. We’re figuring it out! And the more we seek to understand God’s thoughts, the more we’ll find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Our Gifts and Stewardship
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV)
Gift, or charisma, is defined in the Strong’s as a “divine gratuity” or “spiritual endowment.” In this context, Peter is speaking of the gifts endowed by receiving the Holy Spirit. The word “gift” here is also related to a word that means “to show favor” and “undeserved benefit.” Sounds a lot like grace! There’s nothing we can do to deserve the gifts the Holy Spirit infuses us with. But when He does, it’s important that we use them to minister to (or serve) others.
Relating this to our stewardship of the treasure, using our gifts to steward the glory (in the above verse, grace) God wants to reveal through us is a way to serve one another.
A Quick Illustration
Like the eggs in the featured picture at the top of the page, there are seeds of God’s glory inside of you waiting to hatch. But if we act like careless momma birds, our eggs won’t incubate. Prudent and faithful mothers steward their eggs by building a safe nest and keeping them warm. They sit on their eggs, allowing them to mature. Then in due season, life bursts forth! What once was hidden within as it grew and developed is now a walking, chirping baby bird.
In this season, although the bird is out in the world for everyone to see, it’s still not fully mature. It can be a delight to watch, but what’s really breathtaking is when it takes flight. Sure, it may be shaky at first. It may take a few attempts. In most cases, it may even fall short several times. But then suddenly, it pushes off and doesn’t come crashing back to Earth. Its wings are finally strong enough to hold its weight. As it soars through the sky, everyone is now able to see it doing exactly what it was created to do and be exactly who it was created to be.
Steward the glory that God reveals to you. Sit on it as your vision of it matures, and soon you’ll begin to feel it cracking through its shell. The world will see this glory in the making in you. Those who have waited with you will take delight in its reveal. But when it has time to strengthen within you, and it takes flight, that’s when it will be truly breathtaking to all who see it.
What piece of glory’s puzzle does God want to reveal through you?
Until next time,
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