You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet.”

Psalm 8:6

 

In many churches, the word “stewardship” has a particular meaning, and it is often heard with dread. “Stewardship” is a code word for what is elsewhere called “development” or “advancement” or, more bluntly, “fund raising.” When stewardship season rolls around in your church, it’s time to get our your check book (or credit card, or, now, donation app).

Yet, stewardship includes so much more than giving to your church, however importance that is. Psalm 8 celebrates real, basic stewardship. The psalm begins by praising the majesty of God as revealed in creation. Yet the glory of God in the universe accentuates the apparent insignificance of human beings: “What are human beings that you are mindful of them?” (8:4). The startling answer to this question comes from the very creation of humanity, as revealed in Genesis 1 and underscored in Psalm 8. God, in fact, created humanity “a little lower than God” and “crowned them with glory and honor” (8:5). Moreover, he delegated to human beings the care of his creation: “You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet” (8:6). God made us to be his stewards who manage his creation for his purposes and benefit.

Thus, stewardship is about far more than supporting the church financially. Real, basic stewardship is about living our whole lives in faithfulness to our created purpose as human beings. We do this by giving to Christian ministries, to be sure, but also by the way we function at work, by the way we treat our neighbors, by how we vote, by how we relate to others, by our wise care for the earth, and by innumerable others acts of faithful stewardship.

The more we reflect upon the majesty of God in creation, and the more we take to heart whom God has created us to be, the more we will live each moment of each day in response to our high calling as divine stewards.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:

When you hear the words “stewardship” or “steward,” what comes to mind?

Do you think of yourself as someone entrusted with care for God’s creation?

What would it mean for you to live as a steward in the context of your work? your family? your neighborhood? your school? your church? your city?

How might our stewardship impact the way we think about the world?

PRAYER:

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

The more I reflect upon your greatness, the more I am astounded that you would think about me. It’s even more amazing that you have chosen to make me a steward of your creation and redemption. I get to participate in your work of caring for and redeeming the cosmos. How incredible!

O Lord, may I be a faithful steward for you. Help me to honor you in all the places where you have given me influence or authority. May I serve you well at work and at home. May I represent you accurately in my relationships and in my business transactions. May I use well the money you have entrusted to me, being careful in spending it and generous in giving it. Teach me, Lord, to be a true steward every single day.

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Amen.

P.S. An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling, and is used by permission under a Creative Commons license.