Jesus the Good Steward: Five ways to follow his example

The concept of stewardship holds a significant place within Christian theology. To be a good steward is to responsibly and faithfully manage all the resources entrusted to us by God. It lies at the heart of the command given to Adam and Eve in Genesis to be fruitful, subdue the earth and rule over everything. As God’s image bearers they were to reflect the heart of a benevolent God to the world in a caring and wise way (Genesis 1:26-28). It’s a charge that carries on to us.

From Genesis 3 onwards we can see that this didn’t always go that well. We could look at various biblical characters to see stewardship in action. But to get a clear view we need to look at Jesus because he is the ultimate example of what it means to be a good steward.

So, here are five ways in which Jesus shows us what being a good steward is all about.

1. Use your God-given abilities

Jesus taught a lot about how we should steward everything in life. One such example is the ‘Parable of the Talents’ (Matthew 25:14-30). It’s a powerful narrative illustrating the key principles of stewardship. In the parable, a master entrusts his servants with talents (a form of currency) before going on a journey. The servants who wisely invest and multiply their talents are praised upon the master’s return, while the one who buries his talent is rebuked.

Jesus uses this parable to convey the importance of using one’s God-given abilities and resources for the benefit of the Kingdom. The lesson goes beyond financial matters; it extends to the skills, time, and opportunities we have generally in life. Jesus encourages us to actively engage with these gifts bestowed upon us by God and to use them responsibly for the growth of his kingdom through the church.

2. Serve the needs of others

John 13:1-17 provides a poignant scene where Jesus, the Son of God, takes on the role of a humble servant by washing the feet of his disciples, an act traditionally performed by servants. In doing so he not only demonstrates his love for his followers but also vividly reveals the Christological narrative of descent, humiliation, atonement, and exaltation.

Philippians 2:5:11 provides a beautiful reflection of the foot washing scene as it unfolds. Jesus “got up from the meal” just as he rose from his heavenly throne, he “took off his outer clothing” as he laid aside his heavenly glory. “He wrapped himself in a towel” just as he took the form of a servant in the incarnation. He poured out water and cleaned away the dirt just as he would cleanse sins on the cross. “When he had finished washing… he put on his clothes and returned to his place” just like he returned to glory when he returned to the Father’s right hand having put an end to sin.

This powerful gesture not only demonstrates humility but also the essence of a good steward. Jesus, the ultimate steward of humanity’s salvation, exemplifies the importance of selfless service. In stewarding the basic ability of washing another’s feet he sets the example of serving others with deep love and humility that mirrored his entire mission.

3.  Make the most of your time

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus consistently shows compassion and care for the marginalised, the sick, and the needy. He primarily does this by making time for them. Jesus is often found helping people and his only rest seems to come when others are asleep. We never read about Jesus wasting a moment, everything is always carried out with impeccable timing.

While we can never achieve this same level of perfection the principle to note is that good stewardship extends beyond personal talents, resources and even basic abilities. A compassionate and caring attitude towards others will often cost us the most in terms of our time. In imitating Jesus, we’re called to be a good steward of love and justice by spending time actively engaging in the well-being of others around us.

4. Be prepared for sacrifice

The pinnacle of Jesus’ stewardship is found in his sacrificial death on the cross. In Mark 10:45, Jesus states, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. This profound statement encapsulates the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ mission on Earth.

The cross represents the ultimate act of being a good steward, as Jesus willingly offers himself for the redemption of humanity. Believers are called to reflect on this sacrificial love, recognising the responsibility to steward their lives in a manner that aligns with the transformative power of the cross, and share the life-saving message of the gospel.

5. Care for the environment

While the Bible may not explicitly address environmental concerns as we understand them today, the broader concept of stewardship can be applied to caring for God’s creation. In returning to the early chapters of Genesis we note that humans are given the responsibility to rule. This charge implies a role of caretakers or stewards, responsible for maintaining the harmony and balance of the created world.

Applying this principle to contemporary environmental issues, believers can see themselves as good stewards of the Earth. Responsible resource management, sustainable practices, and a mindful approach to environmental impact align with the biblical call to be caretakers of God’s creation. Is it coincidental that the risen Jesus was firstly mistaken as a gardener?

Following the example of the Good Steward. 

In exploring Jesus as the Good Steward we’ve been introduced to a model for Christian living that embraces stewardship from a number of angles. His teachings and embodiment of humility, service, compassion and sacrifice provide a clear framework for us to follow. As we navigate our lives in accordance with these principles, we become stewards not only of our personal time, talents and treasure, but also of love, justice, and the environment—a holistic approach that mirrors the example set by Jesus.

More on money, the Bible and good stewardship

This blog post was written by the team at Stewardship, and can be found on their website. 

For over 100 years, Stewardship have helped Christians, charities and churches activate generosity, resource their calling and make a difference in Jesus’ name.

They have an array of blogs that focus on biblical stewardship and charitable giving, as well as a range of resources to help you think more clearly about money, the Bible and stewardship.

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