1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Let a man so consider us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. (NKJV)
One of the best things about reading the Bible regularly is I often see common verses in a different light - when they are read in context. The verse above is one such example. Stewardship is something we hear about often, and most of the time it is thought of in terms of finances. Obviously, it is important to be a faithful steward with everything God has given us, including finances. But that isn't what the verse above is referring to!
Paul and Apollos were given a gift and calling from the Lord. The New Living Translation states that they were in charge of "explaining God's secrets." Paul makes it clear that faithfulness in that calling was not an option - it was required. Using the gift God gave him was good stewardship. The same is true for us.
What is Your Gift?We need to consider if we are using the gifts God has given us in a way that pleases and honors him. This is a hard question to ask if you don't know what God has gifted you to do. If you are uncertain about what the Lord has called you to do, I would recommend the following. First, ask him to show you! In James 1:5 we're told that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, and it will be given to us. So that's the first step! If you are still uncertain, a book such as Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado may help you see your gifts more clearly.
Are You Using Your Gift?
If you know what your gifts are, you need to ask yourself if you are using the gifts God has given you, or if the gifts he's given you are wasting away. Are you, by chance, withholding something that could be a blessing to others in the body of Christ? In my life, writing is one example. For years I knew that I was supposed to do it, but for reasons such as fear, laziness, and busyness, I avoided it. The fact that you are reading this means that I am using that gift now. That's as it should be.
If you are using your gifts, the next thing to look at is your motive. Are you using your gifts in a way that pleases and honors the Lord? It's possible to use our gifts, but to do so in a sloppy, uncaring manner. Or, it is possible to use them well, but to do so out of pride. The gifts God has entrusted us with should be used with excellence, and with pure motives, so that God is the one glorified. That, my friend, is good stewardship!
Rebecca Livermore is a freelance writer, speaker and contributor for About.com. Her passion is helping people grow in Christ. She is the author of the weekly devotional column Relevant Reflections on www.studylight.org and is a part-time staff writer for Memorize Truth (www.memorizetruth.com). For more information visit Rebecca's Bio Page.