The themes of thankfulness and gratefulness surround us this time of year. For some, thankfulness and gratitude come easy, but for others, we struggle to be thankful for all that God has blessed us with. If I’m honest, I too often fall into the second category. . .
However, there is one biblical principle that I stumbled upon several years ago that has deepened my understanding of life and provided me with a deep sense of thankfulness. That is the principle of stewardship.
In my experience, I have only ever heard this word used in Christian circles when talking about money. But the reality of stewardship goes far, far deeper than finances!
What Is a Steward?
A “steward” is simply a manager—someone who oversees something that does not belong to him or her. And the biblical principle of stewardship, simply put, is the understanding that God owns everything, so everything “I have” actually belongs to him. You see, as Christians, we recognize that God has entrusted his possessions to us for our short life on this earth. Friends, we are not owners, we are managers/stewards.
Consider these two passages of Scripture:
- The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein . . . (Ps. 24:1)
- For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 24:1).
As these passages demonstrate, Scripture shows us that God owns everything. That includes our flesh, our brains, our talents and abilities, our cars, our houses, our money, and our families. Everything from the air that we breathe, to the ground we walk on belongs to God—the continents, the oceans, the entire universe, and the very life that we live. . . it’s all his! He owns it all, and he has entrusted us with all that we “have” to live for his glory.
Living with Thankfulness
When we realize that this life and everything in it is not “ours” but God’s, something changes; when we understand that God has entrusted these possessions to us out of his goodness and generosity, we realize that every single day—regardless of the situation (joyful, painful, and anywhere in between)—is truly a gracious gift from God!
This is where stewardship comes in. As a biblical principle, stewardship provides us with an important lens to view every aspect of our life. What’s more, it leads us to deeper thankfulness to our God. Stewardship leads to thankfulness!