Updated: Mar 2, 2021
In the last 12 months, the Lord has been teaching me a variety of things about Him, about life, and about ministry. One of the most important concepts that has been both challenging and really encouraging is the idea of stewardship. The idea has challenged me because I have realized how poor of a steward I often am, and I am encouraged that the Lord has entrusted all of us as stewards on this earth and His Kingdom. If you are anything like me, this last semester brought its fair share of challenges that were difficult to deal with, but the Lord continues to be graceful to entrust us with growing and managing His kingdom.
Stewardship is one of the first concepts that is described in the Bible. In Genesis 1:26 man is made in the image of God and is also given “dominion over the fish of the seas and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and overs all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” That’s such an incredible blessing wrapped up in just one verse. We get to be stewards of the image of the Almighty God, we are called to be stewards of His creation, and as believers in Christ, stewards of His Kingdom. This is our overarching calling, but as ministers to college students we have been gifted with even more to manage on God’s behalf.
When I think of stewardship, the first thing that comes to my mind is Matthew 25. Starting in verse 14 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. Jesus uses this parable to describe the kingdom and in this parable the servants are each given some of the master’s property to be a steward. The master in this parable isn’t concerned necessarily with the return on his investment. You can see his response to the first two servants is “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” Regardless of the size of your ministry, the obstacles that have stood in the way have made things difficult. Even in our current circumstances, the Lord has not left us completely empty-handed. It may only seem like you have two talents, but the Lord has endowed that into your care to oversee what is His. As in the parable, it is God who decides what to entrust to us, it is our responsibility to invest in that and steward it well. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave the growth.” Paul was addressing division in the church, but he also communicated an important aspect of his role as steward within the church and the kingdom of God. Paul and Apollos stewarded what was given to them, but it was the Lord who provided the growth. The encouraging part of this is that it is something that we can ALL do and are called to do! We invest in what we have been given and trust Christ with the results.
Very often during this past year we have looked at what could have been or what will be in the future because of the trials we have been facing our ministries right now. Just remember this: We cannot be a steward of what we do not have. What we need to understand is that God has already made us to be caretakers of far more than we could ever imagine or deserve.
If you are a college minister, we have the absolutely blessed privilege to be a steward of God’s kingdom in making disciples of college students. Invest in the students the Lord has placed in your care. Be a good steward of the time, the resources, and the body that God has already given you. Be encouraged with the value and responsibility that the God of the universe has placed you as caretaker and manager over some of His kingdom.
If you truly take the time to cherish and value the blessing of stewardship, it will be hard not to begin this semester with excitement and hope for the future that God will bring in this new year!
Campus Minister at Radford University