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.
—1 Corinthians 4:1–2
A steward in Bible times was one who had the responsibility to oversee and distribute the possessions of his master, using them to care for the well-being of the master’s family. Paul says that we are such stewards in God’s kingdom, entrusted with the Master’s possessions for the care of His children, other believers. These possessions are both spiritual and material. We have been given His Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14), and we are recipients of countless material blessings as well. As stewards, we are required to be faithful with these gifts of the Spirit and the good gifts of material blessing.
We often hear of Christians longing for things to be as they were in the first- century church, because the book of Acts records such a powerful testimony of God’s Spirit moving in His people. Acts 2:43–45 says, “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” The wonders and signs they performed show us they were faithful stewards of the Spirit, and regarding all they owned as common demonstrates faithful stewardship in their possessions.
Why was the church so powerful at its birth? Because men and women of God believed that all they had in spirit and flesh came from God and was not their own. This too is how we can live as faithful stewards, knowing that every good personal possession and even the perfect gift, the presence of His Spirit, is the Lord’s. He has merely made us stewards over His possessions.
It is admirable to wish things were as they were in the early church, and the solution for achieving this is actually quite simple. If we will just do what they did then, we’ll see what they saw now.
A loose grip on the things of this world and a tight grip on the things of God is a good way to describe the attitude and actions of the early church. It’s also a good way to describe any church and certainly any Christian. Let’s adopt an attitude of stewardship like theirs and make the early church and all that it experienced not just a wish but a reality!
Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.