Whenever I have conversations with others regarding Stewardship, I like to ask them what words come to mind when they hear the word Stewardship. The answers I get are quite varied, from “giving money” to “taking care of all the gifts entrusted to us.” Over time, I have gravitated towards the following definition . . . Stewardship is everything we do once we say “Yes” to God.

In medieval times the steward, or “keeper of the hall”, was the official in a household responsible for its management. Under the feudal system, it was the lord who had all of the legal authority. The steward had only a delegation of that authority, and a mandate to administer the estate. The steward’s care of the estate was all-inclusive, from the broadest policies to the most trivial details. It was an enormous responsibility, and the best steward would be the one who felt the responsibility on the deepest level, and was one who identified with the role and carried it out with devotion.

As we identify at a deep level with our role as Steward, we are encouraged to expand our own understanding of Stewardship . . .

  • from Stewardship as “something we do” . . . to Stewardship as “a way of life”.
  • from Stewardship as an “obligation” . . . to Stewardship as “a source of wholeness & joy” as God intended us to be.

The spirit of stewardship is one of love and gratitude, rather than duty. It was William Sloane Coffin, in his book Letters to a Young Doubter, who wrote “. . . gratitude, not obedience, is the primary religious emotion. Duty calls only when gratitude fails to prompt”.

May these days of summer provide you with ample time for relaxation and renewal.


 Fred Stoltz, Sr. Program Director
The James Company
(414) 690-3426
Email: fstoltz@jamescompany.com