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 Even (cf Genesis 1:27-28).
Let us look at the meaning of stewardship by tracing the literal meaning of the word according to its origin. The word steward comes from the Greek word oikonomos, which means 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 no 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 unjust steward which we can read in the gospel of Luke, the steward is asked to give an account of his stewardship: Jesus said to his disciples, “There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer” (Luke 16: 1-2).
A distinguished 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 resources or blessings to carry out God’s purposes.