Stewardship in the Bible: Verses About Glorifying God in 2021 (2023)

For Christians, stewardship is about recognizing where our resources come from and what we should do with them. Understanding—and practicing—good stewardship is a crucial part of becoming mature followers of Jesus. It helps us develop a more complete picture of our relationship to God and prioritize our finances, values, and lives around the things that matter most. Fortunately we can find many examples stewardship in the Bible.

If we look at biblical examples of stewardship and passages that describe our role as stewards, it becomes clear that we’re encouraged to use and think about our resources differently than the rest of the world does. But if we don’t live out biblical stewardship, we wind up wasting opportunities to glorify God and advance his kingdom on Earth.

In this article we’re going to cover things you need to know about biblical stewardship, including:

  • What is biblical stewardship?
  • Bible verses about stewardship
  • How to be a good steward

Let’s start with a definition.

What is biblical stewardship?

Stewardis an ancient job title. It describes a person who takes care of or manages something for someone else.

Today there are a wide range of professions, roles, and situations that could be described as stewards or fall under stewardship. You’ve probably heard someone refer to their flight attendant, who is hired by an airline to take care of its passengers, as astewardess. Financial advisors are stewards of whatever assets you put them in charge of. When you house sit for someone, you’re stewarding their house. If someone asks you to watch their things while they go to the bathroom, that makes you a steward for the next few minutes.

Anytime you’re responsible for something that belongs to someone else, that’s stewardship.

The Bible doesn’t explicitly say, “You are a steward of God’s resources,” but this title has always been the way Christians understand our relationship to God and our possessions because the Bible makes it clear that:

  1. Everything belongs to God
  2. He entrusts some things to us
  3. We have a responsibility to manage them wisely on his behalf

Biblical stewardship challenges us to recognize that God is the true owner of everything and that he expects us to manage his resources in a certain way.

Let’s unpack each of these points.

EVERYTHING BELONGS TO GOD

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that as the creator of everything, Godownseverything.

“Who has a claim against me that I must pay?

Everything under heaven belongs to me.” —Job 41:11 (emphasis added)

Evenwebelong to him:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it.” —Psalm 24:1

Right now you’re probably surrounded by things that were made with human hands. You might be reading this on a device that you paid for. But for millennia, God’s people have believed that the things we make aren’t really ours. The things we buy aren’t really ours. They’re God’s. They were made with his materials using hands he made, and they were purchased with his resources—which he allows us to have and use.

HE ENTRUSTS SOME THINGS TO US

Since God owns everything, all that we have comes from him. Not just our resources either. Wealth, honor, strength, power, and authority belong to him too.

“Wealth and honor come from you;

you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power

to exalt and give strength to all.” —1 Chronicles 29:12

This is one of the most challenging aspects of biblical stewardship that Christians have to grasp. There are times when we feel we’ve earned something by our own merit or effort, but even then, God is the one who deserves the credit and has true ownership.

GOD CARES HOW YOU USE WHAT HE GIVES YOU

When something doesn’t belong to you, that should lead you to use it more carefully. But stewardship goes beyond simply “borrowing” things from God. He’s not just loaning us money and other resources. He’sentrustingthem to us.

While they’re in our possession, we have the choice to use God’s resources however we want. We can invest them all in ourselves and use them on things that only matter to us. But God is trusting us to do much more than that. As stewards, our challenge is to use God’s resources in ways that advancehisinterests. We need to invest them in kingdom causes and use them to provide for the needs of others.

The Bible is full of passages instructing us to use our resources to care for the poor and those who are in need (1 John 3:17–18, Proverbs 28:27, 1 Timothy 5:8).

Stewardship isn’t about “giving back” to God. It’s about using what he’s given us to accomplish something that matters.

Stewardship in the Bible: Verses About Glorifying God in 2021 (2)

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Stewardship in the Bible

You won’t find many verses that specificallymentionstewardship (although several passages mention stewards). But numerous passages provide insights into our role and responsibilities as stewards. Here are a few of the key passages that should shape our understanding of biblical stewardship.

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS (MATTHEW 25:14–30)

When it comes to stewardship in the Bible, the clearest picture of our relationship to God’s resources and his expectations for how we use them comes from Jesus.

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus tells a story about a man who entrusts three servants with bags of gold (or talents) and then goes on a trip. When he returns, two of those servants have doubled the money their master gave them, and he rewards them handsomely. But the third servant hid his gold, so the amount neither increased nor decreased.

Even though none of the gold was spent and it was all returned to him, the master is far from pleased:

“You wicked, lazy servant! […] You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” —Matthew 25:26–27

Jesus tells this parable in the context of preparing for his return. It’s clear that Jesus is the master, and we are the servants who have been put in charge of his resources while he is gone.It’s not good enough to simplynot wastewhat God gives us. We need to ensure that God gets a good return on his investment.

“FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO”

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that when we give to the needy and practice righteousness, we can either receive our reward from people or from God (Matthew 6:2–4). But we can’t have it both ways (Matthew 6:1). Later on, he says:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Matthew 6:19–21

We can choose to accumulate wealth and glory for ourselves here on earth, where it will not last, or we can use what God gives us to store up treasure in heaven, where it will last forever. Which type of treasure we pursue and invest in will reveal where our hearts are. Are we prioritizing our lives and our resources around the investments God cares about, or are we reaping our rewards now, on earth?

Biblical stewardship encourages us to store up treasure in heaven.

“THERE WAS NOT A NEEDY PERSON AMONG THEM”

The early Christians didn’t simply tithe (as the Old Testament required) or give to the church when they had some extra money each month. They sharedeverything(Acts 2:44) and even sold homes and property to meet the needs of the poor.

The church understood that everything in their possession really belonged to God. Pooling their resources together created an opportunity to trust God to provide and reveal his extravagant love to others.

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