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Stewards: the good, the bad & the ugly

By Charlie Osewalt | 17 April 2013 | Comments (1)

Stewards Series - the good, the bad and the ugly. An introduction.

 “A steward is both a ruler and servant, one who exists to please his master.” 

What makes a good steward? How strong are the links between service and stewardship? And why do such ancient terms matter more than ever today? Can a steward move from good to bad and back again? Or is their destiny fixed from the start? 


In this new series we will be answering these questions and more by looking at twelve great Biblical examples of what it means to be a steward. We will explore the good, the bad and the ugly, weighing up the evidence gathered from both Old and New Testaments. 


But before we get started, let’s be honest: what hope do we have of success when the only time that most people encounter a steward is when they’re flying at 35,000 feet? Is there enough common ground between our own limited understanding of the term and the meaning attached to Biblical instances of the word? 


It turns out that the today’s stewards have little functional difference from their ancient namesakes. An airline steward today is responsible to their captain for taking care of passengers en route to their destination, while a steward in the ancient Middle East was responsible to his master for the care of all the master’s possessions. Both share the role of a ruler and servant, and neither – while sharing a degree of authority – can be termed ‘owner’. Perhaps stewardship is not so alien a concept after all. 


Across the coming weeks we will encounter many different examples of what it means to be a steward. We start with the story of an open, trusting boy and end with a picture from the life of Jesus – the perfect example of stewardship. 


By showing that stewardship is as much about receiving as it is about giving, Jesus turns the paradigm on its head. And by investing so heavily in the disciples – of whom He commands ‘receive the Holy Spirit…’ (John 20:22) before sending them out – Jesus so perfectly demonstrates the right way to approach the matter. 


Over the coming weeks and months we will see it all – epic stories of redemption, cautionary tales of failure and plenty of food for thought. We will come to see stewardship not just as a journey, but a destination and learn to view the gospel as perhaps the greatest possession with which we are entrusted.


But most of all, we will understand what it means to follow Jesus more closely, not just in word, but in deed as well. But will begin our studies with a steward who speaks no words, but only gives his all, a boy who trusts.


Want to go deeper? You can download the PDF below for more:



Posted by Charlie Osewalt

Charles Osewalt is a husband, father of four children and former elder at Redeemer Church NYC. He has worked in schools for the last twenty years as principal in the Morrisanna section of the Bronx. He formerly worked as a content and curriculum specialist for Stewardship. He tweets at @charlesosewalt



September 7, 2013 6:20 PM
what are some bad qualities of a steward ?

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