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Work As Stewardship

Why Work Article 4 Thumbnail Work As Stewardship


As the book of Genesis tells the creation story, men and women have been given the job description of filling the earth, taking care of it, and developing its potential. From the beginning of human history then, our God-given purpose has been to build civilisation, while overseeing the flourishing of the earth, for his glory.

Think about it for a moment. All men and women have been created in the image of God, with the calling and ability to joyously make something of this world through creativity and hard work. The profound implication of this is that our work is not merely a means to earn a living – it is an expression of stewardship, and is subject to divine accountability.

Understanding stewardship

In general, stewardship involves the diligent and responsible management of everything entrusted to our care. Most of us agree that at every level of an organisation, people need to manage the resources under their authority appropriately, and be held responsible for how they do this. Through personal experience we know that those disconnected from accountability often use resources for their own benefit, at the cost of the organisation and/or community.

A biblical understanding of stewardship, however, extends beyond our material possessions and the natural environment, to also include our time, our talents and skills, and all the opportunities available to us. We spend most of our time at work, we use and develop our talents and skills at work, and we pursue opportunities made available to us through work. It follows that our work itself should be an expression of stewardship, to the glory of God.

Work as obedience to the Great Commandment

Approaching work through the lens of stewardship also aligns with biblical teachings that call believers not only to labour, but to love. Jesus affirmed this as the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Consider that the Hebrew word translated here as love, is ahavah – meaning “deep affectionate loyalty and faithfulness” to someone. And the Hebrew word translated here as strength, is me’od – meaning “devoting every capacity and opportunity, the fullness of effort, force, abundance, might.” This is profound. It means that we have to been called to devote the ‘muchness’ of who we are, with our deepest love and joy, in complete loyalty and faithfulness to Him.

Therefore, there is an inseparable connection between a wholehearted devotion to God, and a commitment to work – which challenges the notion of a sacred-secular divide. As mentioned in the article Finding the essence of good work, we struggle to fully pursue our God-given calling when we live a divided life.

Work as love for neighbour

If our work is a reflection of our obedience to the Great Commandment, then we also need to “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31) in and through our work. For believers this is a familiar concept.

But perhaps we need to be reminded that the way we steward every resource, and every opportunity, affects those around us – whether directly or indirectly. Every decision, every effort, carries within itself a responsibility to love.

It might even mean that we change the projects or the work that we do. As Dave Blanchard, co-founder of Praxis commented:

“With an expansive view of who qualifies as our neighbour, we believe Christians of all kinds and levels of capacity should be actively working on the major issues of their time, and every Christian entrepreneur should be stretching their capacity to reshape the world. That is, the gospel applies not only to how we work, but perhaps even more to what we choose to work on” (Praxis January 2024 newsletter).

It also extends to our personal growth and professional development. By investing time and effort in acquiring new skills we steward our own potential, and by mentoring others and creating opportunities for them, we steward the potential of our community. In this way our organisation can provide fertile ground for creative restoration.

Stewardship implies hope for the future

Inherent to our understanding of stewardship is the hope that one day, Christ will return and everything will be made right. As is written in the book of Revelations: “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new… Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done’” (Rev. 21:4–5, 22:12).

All of creation will be restored, and we will receive our reward for being faithful stewards of all that He has given us. In fact, most of Jesus’ parables assume a worldview that takes accountability seriously, not just the widely known parable of the talents (Matt. 25). Otherwise why would we pursue stewardship at all, and persevere through the sacrifices required?

The apostle Paul acknowledged: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). But then he encouraged us: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

For the believer then, work is not merely the pursuit of income and self-actualisation – it is an ongoing redemption project rooted in hope. The more tangible this hope for the future is to us in our daily life, the more it will infuse our work, and the easier it will be to spend our ‘muchness’ in service to God and others.


Understanding work as stewardship elevates our daily work from a mere transaction of trading our time and skills for income, to a God-given calling. It helps us to cultivate a deep sense of responsibility for the resources and opportunities entrusted to us, and to view our work as an integral part of our obedience to the Great Commandment.

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Lise-Marie Keyser

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