Where did your money come from?  The answer, in most cases, is your work, if you don’t immediately say, “God.”

What about your ability to work?  Where did that come from?  Your healthy mind and body – the two things necessary to do most work.

Where did your mind and body come from?  Well, here we are.  Those definitely came from God.

So God gave us a working body and mind, so we have the ability to work, and make money.  Ultimately, that money has come from God.  The truth is that it’s all his anyway.   It’s a foundational financial principle to understand that we are not actually owners of the stuff we have, but managers – “stewards” would be the Biblical term.

So we arrive at a simple definition of stewardship: managing and using what God gave us in a way that honors him.  There’s so much more to the application of stewardship, but I feel that’s a good working definition.  [NOTE:  Stewardship is NOT “church fundraising.”  To reduce stewardship to that is to bastardize the concept entirely.]

The word “steward” comes from the old European feudal system, where a “lord” would possess a large parcel of land with a home and perhaps a small village on it.  The number two man in that system was the steward, who managed the estate.  He made decisions, bought and sold when necessary, built, and directed.   But it’s important to note that the steward never owned anything, he simply managed it for the lord.

In the same way, we are stewards, hopefully managing well what God has given to us.  With a deeper understanding of this concept, it changes how we give, save, spend, and invest.  When God tells us to give, we can do it cheerfully, because it’s his money anyway, so it’s much easier to give someone else’s money away!

Undoubtedly, the manager enjoyed what the master entrusted to him.  It wasn’t all work and no pleasure.  In fact, those stewards that had the freedom to enjoy what they managed probably were better stewards than the ones who did not!

In the same way, we don’t have to forego any pleasure in order to be good stewards.  We are better managers of all of it if we get to enjoy some of it.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 says, “So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”

It’s a balancing act.  Like many things in life, the danger is in the extremes.  If your money is just about your enjoyment, and you are certainly not a good steward.  All work and toil with no pleasure will burn you out and make you bitter.   Enjoy what we’ve been given, but use it well, friends!