By Stewardship.com Team, Crosswalk.com
Jesus talked a lot about stewardship. He used parables about handling money to teach deeper principles about discipleship, and He reminded His followers that our hearts follow our treasure (Luke 12:34).
But how did His walk match His talk? It’s a fair question for believers who want to follow His example in every area of their lives—including their stewardship.
A great way to examine the question is to filter His life through the definition of biblical stewardship: managing God’s blessings God’s way for God’s glory. By breaking each component down, we can see how Jesus integrated genuine stewardship into His own life.
God owns it all, and we manage His stuff. That’s the foundation of biblical stewardship.
In the Gospels, Jesus often acknowledged God’s role as Provider. He trusted God to provide things like a temple tax from the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17:24–26), and He taught His followers to rely on God as they worked and ministered (Mark 6:8-11).
But Jesus also showed how stewardship isn’t just about material possessions. It involves things like our work and our time, too. He knew His time on earth was limited, so He intentionally set priorities. Ever wonder why Jesus told people to keep His identity a secret? Partially, it was to avoid the kind of distractions that would disrupt His ministry.
Jesus was all about making the most of the blessings God had provided.
It’s one thing to admit that God owns it all. It’s another thing to commit yourself to using the stuff He owns His way—mostly because His ways don’t always make sense to our human brains. From Eden until today, humans have wrestled with the tension between trusting God’s plan and jumping in with our own plans.
Jesus really never struggled with that tension. He embraced the Father’s purpose and never wavered from making it happen. He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV). Anything outside that mission was a step outside God’s way of doing things.
For example, when Satan tempted Him with alternative plans (Matthew 4:1–11), Jesus rebuked him with Scripture and refused any shortcuts. Even when God’s purpose brought Jesus to the brink of the cross—complete with suffering and agony—He submitted to God’s will, not His own (Matthew 26:39). Jesus’ job wasn’t finished until the Father’s purpose was finished (John 19:30).
Jesus stayed connected to God’s way by connecting to God through prayer. Scripture tells us that prayer was a habit in Jesus’ life (Luke 5:15–16), and it’s a habit we can imitate as we try to figure out how God wants us to steward His blessings.
Jesus was all about pointing people to God. In fact, His life and ministry were tied up in God’s glory (John 13:31–32). Whether it was the death of a friend (John 11:4) or teaching His disciples about prayer (John 14:13), Jesus looked for ways to glorify His Father.
And God returned the favor. Twice, the Father spoke from heaven and told people how pleased He was with His Son (Matthew 3:16–17; 17:4–6). Later, the apostle Paul told the Christians in Philippi that while Jesus’ obedience led to suffering, it also led to His reward (Philippians 2:6–11).
Like Jesus, everything we do and say should be wrapped up in the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). By definition, genuine stewardship glorifies the Father. In fact, God’s glory is a natural consequence of using God’s blessings God’s way.
So, Jesus modeled biblical stewardship at every turn during His time on earth. Big surprise, right? Well, the challenge for us isn’t just recognizing His example. We’ve got to imitate His example.
To be effective stewards, we have to find ways to use God’s blessings God’s way for God’s glory—just like Jesus did.
Learn more about how to be a better steward in your every day, following Jesus' example, from pastor and radio show host Chris Brown. Listen now!
This article originally appeared on Stewardship.com. Used with permission.
Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/Maria Marta Giminez