Today we’re going to wrap up this series about examples of good stewards in the Bible.  If you missed my initial post, this series came about as I pondered to myself the question, “What examples of good stewardship do we see in the Bible?”

So I sought out examples throughout Scripture and created a short list (certainly not exhaustive) and shared some of the stories here.  You can see some of the other posts below:

The Good and Faithful Servant
Jacob
Joseph
David

Today we’ll focus on the centerpiece of Scripture, Jesus.

Not  long ago I was reading John 17, a prayer of Jesus before the Crucifixion, and these words jumped out to me like they never had before:

I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do… I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world.  They were always yours.  You gave them to me, and they have kept your word… All who are mine belong to you, and yo have given them to me, so they bring me glory…During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.  I guarded them so that not one was lost,  except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

John 17:4, 6, 10, 12

These verses contain some interesting truth about Jesus’ disciples that we don’t often think about, but we see that Jesus recognized clearly.  Jesus saw both his work and his followers as being given directly from the Father, and he saw himself as directly accountable to the Father for them.

This is shortly before the crucifixion, so Jesus is giving account for his time on earth to his Father, who sent him, who gave Jesus his work, and who gave Jesus his disciples.  Jesus is both accounting for them and – as we see in other verses – asking for their protection after he’s gone.

Obviously Jesus was perfect, and he perfectly exemplified stewardship by doing the work assigned to him faithfully and effectively, while caring for the people entrusted to him.  Throughout this series we’ve seen how stewardship, many times, means growing or increasing what’s been entrusted to you.

On the surface, it may seem like Jesus fell short of that goal of growing and helping something thrive when he said, “I guarded them so not one was lost.”  On the surface, it can almost appear that Jesus acted on par with the “wicked and lazy servant” from part 1 of this series.  The wicked and lazy servant didn’t grow what he was given, he just buried it to keep it safe and returned it when called to give account.

But the comparison between Jesus and the lazy servant is a false one: Jesus grew his disciples from simple fishermen, tax collectors, and others into true world-changers.  He grew them up as his followers, but leaders on their own account.  What Jesus poured into them in those three years enabled them to go out after his death and, over time, build the church that would eventually lead to Jesus’ story being told all over the world.

Stewarding people is also about growing them up, pouring into them, equipping them.  Jesus did exactly that.  He testified in verses 7-8: “Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me.”

Furthermore, Jesus exemplified incredible stewardship by making the most of the short time he had in ministry.  In a mere three to four years, Jesus grew a massive following, where literally thousands of people were gathering to hear him speak and be blessed by him.  Jesus’ following was so large and passionate, the people who killed him feared what his followers would do to them once he was killed.

As a perfect person, Jesus exemplified stewardship for us perfectly:

He recognized that what he had really belonged to God the Father, but it had been entrusted to him.
He faithfully executed the work assigned to him with excellence.
He made the most of the time he had.
He grew the ministry that he was given.
He poured into, grew, equipped, and empowered those closest to him.

Throughout Scripture we find many examples of outstanding stewards.  It might take some digging, but they’re there for us to learn from, be inspired by, and emulate in our own life.  I hope these stories we’ve shared will help you be a better steward in your own life!