Meaning of Stewardship

Stewardship is not an invention of the Church.  It is a biblical concept.  Stewardship is the way God has expected his people to live since the beginning of time.  Thus the concept of stewardship is older than Christianity itself.  It dates back to the time when God entrusted the earth to Adam and Eve (see Genesis 1:27-28)

What is stewardship?  Now we will look at the meaning of stewardship from its etymology – that is to say, by tracing the literal meaning of the word according to its origin.  The word “steward” comes from the Greek work oikonomos, which means the manager of a household.  Therefore, a steward is someone who manages someone else’s household.  The work of the steward is called management or stewardship.

Since the household and its goods do not belong to the steward but to the owner, the steward is responsible to the owner for the way he carries out his responsibilities.  For example, in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward, which we can read in the gospel according to St. Luke chapter 16 verses 1 to 2 , the steward is asked to give an account of his stewardship:  Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property.  He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you?  Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’”

A distinguishing characteristic of a good steward is that he uses what has been entrusted to him in a way that is consistent with the wishes of the owner.  Thus Christian stewardship can be defined as the Christian’s good management of everything that God has entrusted to him.  Another way of putting it: Stewardship is managing God’s blessing to carry our God’s purposes.

Rev. Anacleto S. Asebias, Jr.