Some Christians believe that our salvation is a bus ticket to heaven, and what we do while we wait for the bus makes little difference. The parable of the talents makes it clear this belief is false. Instead, like the servants in the parable, we will be held accountable for our stewardship of our lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
Christians who limit stewardship to tithing or even understand stewardship as the godly management of their time, talent, and treasure are still missing something. We have lost the idea of “whole-life stewardship” taught in the Scriptures. Kent Wilson of the Acton Institute suggests a more complete definition of stewardship, describing it as,
…the faithful and efficient management of property or resources belonging to another in order to achieve the owner’s objectives.
Note the last phrase, “in order to achieve the owner’s objectives.” We must know God’s objectives in order to achieve them. To know what those objectives are, we must go back to the Garden of Eden.
Moses divides the creation story into two stages within the first chapter of Genesis. In the first stage, God creates something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1-2). In the second stage, the six days of creation, God forms and fills what he has created.
At the end of each of the first five days, God looks at his handiwork and announces that it is good. But at the end of his work of creation, at the end of the sixth day, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Here we find the first hint of God’s original intent for his creation. The purpose of God was to be glorified by his creation. This is why God describes it as “very good.” As a great painting reflects the glory of the master artist, God created everything for his glory, including man, the crown jewel of creation.
Does this mean that God created the world so that he could become more glorious in himself? No. God created the world and everything in it to display his glory, that it might be known and praised by creation (Psalm 8). To be effective stewards of all that God has given us, we must achieve the owner’s original objective — to bring glory to himself.
Spend a few moments meditating on Psalm 8 and the marvelous glory of our majestic Lord.
Read more about God’s intent for work in How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work by Hugh Whelchel, executive director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.