Reflection on Stewardship in Business Practices
God’s Business: A Reflection on Stewardship as a Christian Stewardship is by definition an ethic that embodies responsible planning and management of resources. Christian stewardship couples the first definition with the firm foundations of the Christian beliefs. Bringing the two together, one can surmise that Christian stewardship is the embodiment of responsible planning and management of the world’s resources using Christian beliefs as the criteria for the decision making process.
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For one to understand Christian Stewardship, one must recognize that the motivation behind Christian business choices is based on Christian principles and the belief of perfect unconditional love. My definition of Christian stewardship is founded on the belief that because of God’s ultimate sacrifice to us, Christians prefer to sacrifice with purpose and persistence and apply those preferences in order to make business decisions. Our everyday life and the decisions we make in it are the most effective testimony of our Christian beliefs.
Christian stewardship should be the very essence that drives our every action. From a business standpoint it is the mission that drives our vision for our everyday life. But, how each person applies this to his or hier life life and livelihood can vary in degrees and focus. This paper will attempt to outline how Christian principles can be applied to our decisions as we walk in stewardship. What can God expect of us and why? After all, he gives forgiveness freely to anyone who asks. So where is the expectation? The expectation is not in the front. God gives us the gift of forgiveness.
The expectation also doesn’t come from him. Although it is derived from his love, he doesn’t expect anything in return. Instead, he inspires us to create momentum from his divine truth. The expectation comes from within in our attempt to honor that God’s unconditional love. The choices made everyday in business are guided by the expectation one has internally. Because God offers forgiveness and allows the Holy Spirit to reside in us, he inspires us to spread the light. That inspiration proves to be the catalyst for our expectation. Here in lies the basis for Christian Stewardship.
The vision of how we should live our lives as Christian come from the inspiration of perfect unconditional love. The vision of what that means in business can be centered around three key words: preferred, purposeful, and persistence. This vision can then be applied to the values of relationship, ownership, sacrifice and love. The evolution of how this mission, vision, and values are applied to our business life is a direct reflection of our intense walk with God. It is the sheer joy gained from God’s truth which sets the tone for our expectation of how to be more like him.
Consider Psalm 119:105, stating Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. A lamp at your feet in the woods at night is a reminder of the firm foundation on which your feet are standing on. The light gives you direction and elluminates only the direct world around you. That is why we cannot understand the design of God’s creation. We are only privy to that which our light aluminates. The rest is for God to understand. Our vision is limited to that which we can only see. Therefore, our vision is limited to the light which lights our path.
Stewardship is the process of absorbing what is on our path and how to use our light. Christian Stewardship, in business, is using that which is placed immediately in one’s world and molding it in God’s Honor. How can we use our light? What is the most effective way to use our light? This is where the concepts of preferred, purpose and persistence come into action. As a Christian, being preferred means that are actions strategically designed to speak one message loud and clear. God is our preference and, therefore, we want to be the preferred person for the rest of the world.
We want our actions to speak a message of what God’s Company looks like. We are God’s preferred employee. If God were to ask who can I count on to send the right message to the rest of the world, I would be the employee of choice. So how does this translate in everyday life? When the world looks around and says who can help us, I would like to be preferred. I would like to be the first person that comes to their mind. Because the greatest gift that I could give back to God is the same sacrifice that he has given to me. This translates to all of my time and talents helping others, however possible.
The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for sacrifice is “korban”, and it means to come close to God. As a Christian, living for Christ is our sacrifice to Him. When we use our possessions (time, talents, and treasures) to His glory and to benefit others, we signal to God, and to the world, our desire to have a close relationship with Him. When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God (I Corinthians 10:31 CEV). As a steward of God’s business, it’s important to honor Him by operating it with honesty and integrity.
As a completion to the cycle, god will bless your (His) business, because He wants you to bless individuals, the community and the world at large. This style of stewardship will bring honor and glory to His name. It is also a manner of serving God. Proverbs 3:9-10 states Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine…. Because God loves us He has blessed us with many possessions, such as time, talent, and treasure. The manner we use our possessions demonstrates our love to Him.
As faithful stewards, we must use our possessions for His glory, to benefit others, and not for personal gain. Simply put, by serving others, you bless them. In turn, god is honored and therefore you are blessed. It is a perfect cycle of stewardship. Stewardship also requires the element of purpose. Although business is part of our everyday life, it is not our purpose. How can Christians honor God in everything that they do? By making sure that they are purposeful and purpose driven. A key part of the definition of Stewardship is responsible planning.
This can only be done with purpose. So what is a Christian’s purpose? We are not defined by our title or our status. We are instead motivated by the fulfilling of our purpose. Each person who we come into contact with has the opportunity to be touched by God’s light, but that comes with responsible planning. We must consciously make the choice everyday to be an active part in making decisions for God. Our purpose is to help each other. God has placed so many of us here on earth. We are not here to act separately or against each other. Instead, we are here to pay it forward.
Let God’ love and devotion towards each of us be the driving purpose to help every one of our fellow man, even with responsible planning. Stewardship brings to business an element of the great design to the business model. God is the owner of everything and He has transferred dominion over His creation to us (Genesis 1:26). As faithful stewards, we understand that we have been assigned the management or stewardship of God’s possession. We are responsible to the Owner for the manner in which we conduct our stewardship responsibilities. According to Psalm 24:1, the earth and everything on it belongs to the Lord.
The world and its people belong to him (CEV). Based on this scripture, your business belongs to God; therefore, you are a steward managing his business. He has blessed you with the talents, time, and treasures that you need to properly manage that which you are responsible for. We want to be the preferred choice and we are purpose driven in our choice, but most of all we want to be persistence in this endeavor. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing. . . ” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16) It is this spirit of enthusiasm that rounds out the qualification for a Christian Steward.
God hopes that we can learn to rejoice in the constant movement towards him. This is because God desires a close relationship with us. He loved us before we loved Him. Our relationship with God is not one of equals since He is the Owner and we are the stewards of His possessions. Honoring him is honoring our possessions as his gifts. As faithful stewards, we must use our possessions for His glory, to benefit others, and not for personal gain. So, where is the ultimate sacrifice? He has shown us that already as well. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son.
This pure love is outline for Christian stewardship. God is love. Stewardship reminds us that God’s love allows us to look beyond the faults of others while using our possessions to supply their needs (John 13:34, 35). Stewardship is God’s love in action. It is the light for our path and the beacon of hope for all of mankind. That action is called stewardship, the act of love we show each other, honoring God. Business, the way we interact with others everyday, is the ultimate place to show stewardship, honoring God in the process.