“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV).
A steward is someone who manages property, finances or other affairs for someone else. A steward holds assets in trust for a beneficiary. He is a custodian, a caretaker, or an overseer.
A steward never says or claims that what is entrusted to his care belongs to him. Neither does a steward spend and waste lavishly upon himself, nor distribute and give out what is committed to his hands as he wills or desires without the knowledge and approval of the owner.
A steward always waits to receive clear orders, commands, and instructions from the owner. A good or faithful steward handles with extreme care whatever his master has committed to his hands. He manages it according to his master’s instructions, for he knows that he will one day give account of his stewardship to his master. This is steward mentality!
Whether we realize it or not, we all are God’s stewards. Although you may dispute or struggle with this, but the truth is that you actually own nothing in this world. Why?
First, because God is the Creator, Maker, and Owner of everything, including you.
God made everything out of nothing without any man’s input or support (Psa. 50:12). Therefore, you are either a stark liar or an arrant fool to claim that you own anything in this world.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NKJV).
1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. (RSV).
1 Chronicles 29:
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. (NKJV).
Second, we all are God’s stewards because we brought nothing into this world, and after our brief sojourning in this world we shall carry nothing out of this world.
In the midst of his trials, Job clearly states this truth in Job 1:
21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (NKJV).
Apostle Paul also testifies to this truth in 1 Timothy 6:
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (NKJV).
Apparently, this is true of everyone in this world. You came into the world naked from your mother’s womb and naked you shall return. So, you own nothing!
If you were truly the owner of your property, estate, finances or any possessions in this world, then, you should be able to carry them all or at least a portion of them with you out of this world.
Since no man has ever brought anything into this world or taken anything out of this world, it simply implies that no man truly owns anything in this world; we all are simply stewards of God’s resources.
Third, we all are God’s stewards because there is nothing that we have in this world that we did not receive from God.
Paul queries the boastful believers in 1 Corinthians 4:
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (NKJV).
You cannot have anything, no matter what you do, if God does not release or give it to you. Therefore, if what you have is given to you by God, you cannot claim to be the real owner; you are just a steward.
John testifies to this truth in John 3:
27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. (NKJV).
James also testifies to this truth in James 1:
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV).
You may argue or claim that what you have rightfully belong to you because you are the one who studied, labored or worked hard to earn it. But, the truth is this: it is God who gives you the wisdom, strength or power to work. God owns the breath of life in you; the instant He takes it, you are gone.
While the children of Israel were in the wilderness en route the Promised Land, Moses warned them seriously never to say in their hearts that “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:17-18 NKJV).
It is the blessing of the LORD that makes one rich and adds no sorrow with it (Prov. 10:22). It is the gift or blessing of God for you to work and be alive to receive and enjoy the wages or rewards of your labour.
Solomon testifies to this truth in Ecclesiastes 2:
24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. (NKJV).
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God. (NKJV).
Therefore, no man in his right senses has the right to claim that any of the things he possesses belong to him.
By right, all the things you have belong to God – your life, family, finances, career, business, houses, cars, etc. God is the rightful owner of all that you have and will still have in this world. God has only appointed you to be one of His stewards and one day you will stand before God to give account of your stewardship.
Paul warns us about this in Romans 14:
11 For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (NKJV).
Paul also instructed Timothy to admonish the rich in 1 Timothy 6:
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (NKJV).
Beloved, it is very crucial for you to possess the mentality of a steward in all your dealings or transactions in the things of this life.
How will such a mindset affect your lifestyle?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge You today as the rightful owner of everything that I have and will ever have. Dear Holy Spirit, teach, help and guide me to be a faithful steward of God’s riches and resources entrusted to my care, in Jesus’ name. Amen.