Introduction: “Steward” is not a term used very much today. “Agent,”
“representative,” “employee” or “manager” are more common terms. But,
do those words capture the full meaning of being a steward? More
important for our purposes, do they capture the Biblical meaning
being God’s steward? Let’s once more immerse ourselves in God’s word
to learn more about His goal for us as stewards!

  1. Genesis Stewards

    1. Read Genesis 1:27. What wonderful thing do we learn about
      humans in this verse? (That God created us in His image!)

      1. What do you think that means? What is the
        significance of that? (God wants us to be like Him.
        God gave us a very special gift and identity.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:28. What is our relationship to the rest of
      the creation? (We are rulers over all of the animals. We
      are to subdue the earth.)

      1. How many humans would there be in God’s original
        plan? (We are told to “fill the earth.”)

    3. Read Genesis 1:29-30. Did we have a special diet? (Yes –
      vegetables and fruit.)

      1. Was our diet superior to that of the animals? (Yes –
        they only had “green plants” for their food.)

    4. Step back a minute and think about the position and the
      responsibility that God gave us. How would you describe
      it? (God made us the rulers of the earth. Just like He was
      the Ruler of the Universe, He made us lesser rulers over
      the earth and everything in it.)

      1. Would you consider this stewardship an obligation or
        a special privilege?

      2. When you think about the general understanding of
        being a steward, does the role God gave to us seem
        more grand? (I think it is much grander. We have an
        incredible amount of authority and privilege.)

    5. Read Genesis 2:15-17. What stewardship tasks do we have

      1. How much of a limit did God place on what humans
        could eat?

    6. Read Genesis 2:19-20. What stewardship tasks do we find

      1. What does this say about the relative relationship
        between humans and animals? (Giving Adam naming
        rights shows he was clearly the master over the

    7. Let’s bring what we have discovered in Eden to the
      question of what God requires of us as stewards. Is being
      God’s steward a job that you would like to have – if we
      can use Eden as our job description? (Yes!)

      1. What do you like about the job of being God’s
        steward? (1. Authority. 2. The relationship to God –
        being in the image of God. 3. God doesn’t seem to
        require a large return or “rent.” Of all of the
        trees, we get to eat from all except two. What God
        seems to want is fellowship. 4. We get to live and
        work in a great place. And, our work is managerial,
        not physically taxing.)

  2. Post Eden Stewardship – Financial

    1. Read Genesis 3:16. How has the job description changed for

      1. Has the managerial part of the work been modified?
        (Adam was created first, but there was no indication
        in the creation account that they were not equals.
        However, Eve distrusted God in the matter of her
        relative authority (see, Genesis 3:4-6), and
        thereafter God reduced her rank of authority.)

      2. Why do you think that God made childbirth painful?
        (In her ability to develop and birth other people,
        Eve was the closest to being like her creator God.
        Eve disbelieved that God had made her like Him (see,
        Genesis 3:4-6), so God made her role as a co-creator
        something she would not forget.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:17-19. How has the job description changed
      for Adam?

      1. Why do you think that God made producing food so
        difficult for Adam? Why that particular penalty? (If
        you look at Genesis 3:6 and 1 Timothy 2:14, it
        appears that Adam made the decision to support Eve
        instead of supporting God. Thus, God decided that in
        the future, supporting his wife and family would
        focus his attention on the path he had chosen.)

      2. Would you still want the job of being a steward? (It
        is still an astonishing job – God seems to give us a
        huge amount of authority over the rest of the
        creation. God does not, according to what we have
        read so far, demand a financial return on His
        investment. He only requires a time return (Genesis
        2:2-3), and that return seems to be mostly a blessing
        for us.)

    3. Read Malachi 3:7-10. Let’s assume the general application
      of this requirement to us today. What do you think, as a
      steward, about the “split” between you and God? (On the
      face of it this is a great deal! Not quite the deal in
      Eden with the fruit trees, but still great! God demands
      only 10% – we get 90%.)

    4. Read Malachi 3:10-11. Now tell me about your view of the
      deal? (This promises that we get “you cannot store it all”
      back – this certainly must be more than our original 10%
      back! Give me this stewardship job! Of course, we have not
      discussed the unspecified amount of offerings.)

  3. Post Eden Stewardship – Spiritual

    1. Read Colossians 2:2-3. What does God want us to have?
      (“Complete understanding.”)

      1. What, again, was the temptation presented to Eve?
        (Read again Genesis 3:5 – she was offered greater

      2. Look again at Colossians 2:2. What is at the heart of
        a complete understanding? (Understanding the mystery
        of Jesus and what He has done for us.)

        1. Are we stewards of that information?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2. Based on what we learned, what
      is the most important “secret thing” of God? (Who Jesus
      is! What He has done for humans!)

      1. What do you think it means to be “faithful” with
        something entrusted to us?

      2. What do you think it means to be faithful with the
        “secret things of God?” (The same thing Paul was
        doing – sharing about Jesus with those who did not
        know about Him.)

    3. Read Matthew 22:39. What kind of stewardship does this
      suggest? (We have been given the gift of being loved by
      God. We have been given the gift of eternal life because
      of the incredible love and sacrifice of Jesus. We are
      called upon to share this love with others.)

      1. What kind of “split” or “rent” does God suggest here?
        (This looks more like an even split. We love our
        neighbor as we love our self, not more and not less.)

        1. Do you think God intended us to put a number or
          percentage on this split? (No. With our
          finances or our time we could put a number.
          With love, especially the kind of love we learn
          about in the “mystery of God” (Jesus), the
          obligation seems total.)

    4. Read Ephesians 6:13-17. What kind of non-financial
      stewardship is suggested here?

      1. Why use a warrior as an illustration of our
        stewardship? (Read Ephesians 6:11-12. We are stewards
        to a Lord who is in battle against the “powers of
        this dark world” and “the spiritual forces of evil in
        the heavenly realms.”)

      2. If we are in battle, doesn’t that say something
        important about the neat and precise numbers we
        previously discussed about our financial and time
        return obligations? (God did, at one point, give
        minimum numbers and explained His return system. But,
        that seems to reflect a floor (not a ceiling) on what
        God is looking for in His stewards.)

    5. Friend, God has given us a great job! As His stewards, we
      have great authority and opportunity. God does not require
      much of us in terms of the minimum financial returns for
      our stewardship. However, He expects that we will reflect
      His love and we will stand faithful to Him. Will you,
      right now, accept God’s job offer?

  4. Next week: The Marks of a Steward.