By seventyfourimages

Stewardship is a virtue that requires discipline and deliberate practice. Historically, stewards protected, supervised and managed the duties and assets of a household, an estate, or a business.  

Stewards look after assets that don’t belong to them but are entrusted to them. They embody basic characteristics such as trust, prudence, professionalism, self-control, punctuality, and accountability. 

The historical role played by stewards provides the foundation for understanding their relevance in a broader, more spiritual context.  I think it’s insightful to look at their specific biblical usage and consider its implications.

The Use Of Oikonomia In The Bible

Stewardship is an important concept in the Christian faith. The Greek words “oikonomia” and “Oikoumene” contribute to the theological understanding of stewardship. 

Let’s take a closer look at these words to get a better idea of what stewardship is.

Oikonomia As Prudent Management

The Greek word Oikonomia is related to a (economic) manager (Oikonomos) of a family (oikia) and property (cf Luke 12:42, 16:1,2,8; Matthew 2:11; 23:13). The use of “Oikonomia” in this sense leads us to think about stewardship as prudent management. 

Christian stewardship, then, is the responsibility of Christians to faithfully manage the resources that have been entrusted to us, such as our time, talents, and finances.

The Wider Dimensions Of Oikonomia

However, Apostle Paul also employs the word Oikonomia to refer to 

  • his special commission (1 Corinthians 9:17), 
  • the administration of God’s grace (Ephesians 3:2), 
  • and the preaching of God’s Word (Colossians 1:25). 

Further, he also uses the same word to designate God’s plan (1 Timothy 1:4) and God’s eschatological goal of uniting all things under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10). 

Paul’s usage of the term in the New Testament demonstrates a spiritual significance for stewardship. Stewardship isn’t just about managing resources, it’s also about contributing to others’ well-being in accordance with God’s ultimate purpose.

Oikoumene: Fulfilling Our Role In God’s Divine Plan

Interestingly, another Greek word Oikoumene delineates how humans fit into God’s big plan. 

Oikoumenē refers to the unity of God’s order, the inhabited or inhabitable world such as the Roman Empire of the New Testament (Cf. Matthew 24:14, Luke 2:1, Acts 17:6, Romans 10:18, and Hebrews 1:6). 

Moreover,  in Acts  17:31 and Revelation 3:10, Oikoumenē refers to humanity as a single entity and in 1 Timothy 6:16 refers to the manner of living (oikeō, ‘to dwell’) 

Therefore, Oikoumene includes the idea of unity where everyone lives under God’s control. Thus, stewardship must be understood as a  broader responsibility towards the whole creation. 

The Uniqueness Of Christian Stewardship

Unlike traditional understanding of stewardship, Christian stewardship offers a unique perspective. The expansive view has practical implications for our Christian lives. 

Firstly, Christian stewardship is more than welcoming congregation members who come to worship, collecting offerings during worship services, or maintaining accounts of income and expense. 

Secondly, we are responsible for taking care of the resources and people God has given us. We are accountable to God for our actions. 

Finally, Christian stewardship transcends the entrusted duties of individual Christians and their immediate families. We as humans live in a world that belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). God expects us to be its stewards by using its resources responsibly and sustainably.

Towards A Better World

A Christian understanding of stewardship goes beyond resource management to include responsibilities towards creation and humanity. It presents a holistic approach to living that encompasses responsible care for the self, environment, resources, and people.

Christian stewardship channels God’s grace into our personal lives, families, congregations, and living contexts. Its principles can change not just the lives of individuals, but whole communities as well. 


Stewardship, then, is being honest and responsible with what you have, knowing that everything you have comes from God and should be used for His purposes. As good stewards, we must strive to create a better world for all people. I think it fits in perfectly with God’s plan for humanity.