Have you ever said a word so many times that you start to question whether it has any meaning any more?

Broccoli. Broccoli. Broccoli. Broccoli. broccoli. broccolibroccolibroccoli

Know what I mean? Well, I think that sometimes this is a problem we have in our spiritual lives. We’ve heard so many times to be merciful or to love others or to repent that it’s all sort of blurred together, and when a moment comes along in our lives where we could have been merciful or loving or repentant, we walk away kicking ourselves for forgetting what that means. I know I’ve had this happen in my life too many times to count.

Does anyone understand that metaphor anymore?

Well, I’m about to throw down one of those words that’s running through our minds like a broken record:


Your mind has probably already been flooded with a string of old sermons, bulletin inserts, and “campaigns” you heard about when you were a kid. But have you ever taken the time to think about what a steward really does?

In a world where this title is pretty much only mentioned in relationship to church fundraising, it’s easy to get confused or zone out when the topic gets brought up for the nth time.

A steward was the guy that basically ran the affairs of a king or lord. He was the one who made sure everybody in the house ate and got paid and did their jobs. And when the ruler was away, the steward was the one to represent the king and even sometimes govern in his name. A sort of interim king. Now, the steward wasn’t someone of high rank—he was a servant in the king’s household—but the king trusted that the steward would run his household and his dominion with the king’s values. When he returned, he expected to find his home not only in order, but made better by the steward’s leadership.

This guy was probably the worst steward ever.

So you’re probably getting the picture by now. When the Lord appoints us to be stewards, He is saying, “You are my most trusted servant. While I am away, I expect that you will care for my dominion in the same way that I would care for it myself. And I won’t be gone forever—when I return, I expect a full accounting of what went on while I was gone.” You are Christ’s interim king.


And let’s not forget, Christ is the Ruler of All. Everything we have is on loan to us from God, and He has set us up as stewards, as temporary rulers, over these things. It’s our job as stewards, then, to prepare all things to be offered back to him. They’re really His in the first place, after all. This means preparing and caring for our bodies, minds, and hearts, our thoughts, our skills, our families, our churches, our society, our environment…quite literally everything. No big deal. Oh, and don’t forget the part where when our King returns, he’ll expect to find things not only in order, but made better (remember that parable about talents?).

But here’s the best part about being a Christian steward: we have the chance to bring the King home. For us, the King is only away when we are acting like bad stewards, when we ignore our duties to care for His creation with the love and mercy which He shows us. When we act like good stewards, when we take our responsibility as interim kings and queens seriously, we make Christ present in ourselves. True Christian stewardship is to be able to say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ in me.”

What does Christian stewardship look like in your life?