We can only live in abundance when we recognize scarcity. Every one of us has a limited amount of resources, energy, and time. That never changes— no matter how wealthy you become. That’s why one of my foundational Laws of Wealth is the Law of Stewardship.
Stewardship comes from the Greek word oikonomia, which appears in the New Testament in reference to Jesus’ parable of the talents. It’s translated as, “the management of household affairs, stewardship, and administration.” Stewardship isn’t just about money. Stewardship is a mindset. A person can implement the laws of stewardship regardless of how little or how much wealth they have.
In her book, Be Fruitful and Multiply, Anne Bradley breaks down how stewardship is an essential principle for Christians to adopt. She writes:
“We are called to be profit maximizers, which is the goal of stewardship. We have limited time, limited talent, and limited treasure. We are asked to use these gifts with their limitations to the fullest, and, when we do that well, we have more leftovers (profit). The more time, talent, and treasure that is left over, the more we can serve others and fulfill God’s desires for us.”
1. Steward Your Talents
Before you invest in anything, you should invest in yourself. God made all of us unique, which means that each person’s individuality is vital to the Kingdom of God. I cannot do someone else’s job, and vice versa. Taking time to discover the specific gifts and talents you carry is well worth it.
Specialization exemplifies stewardship. It allows us the freedom to do a few things very well. Then, we can leverage other people’s gifts and talents in areas outside of our expertise. This saves time. For example, I can eat my cereal in the morning and drink a cup of coffee without having to create either of those things from scratch myself. Instead of farming and processing the necessary products, I get to eat my breakfast in ten minutes and get along with my work at AWM and WealthBuilders.
Once you have an idea of your area of expertise, invest your time and money in endeavors that will help you improve in your niche. This could look like reading books, taking educational courses, attending conferences, or even reaching out to someone who has ‘made it’ in your field. There are endless ways to learn, so we should never stop.
2. Steward Your Time
Your day is full of constant activity. It can either be planned or unplanned. Both planned and unplanned systems can work to accomplish goals, but there’s a vast difference in the degree of effort required from one system to the other. We do need to work hard, but we also need to work efficiently. The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion. Planning our time allows us to get the most results with the least amount of effort. This is a key pillar of stewardship. Planning includes 4 steps:
- A selected goal
- What you must do to reach the goal
- When you should do it
- How you should do it
Take some time at the beginning or end of each day, or at least, at the beginning of every week, to establish your goals and desired trajectory. The fruit of this practice is focus and productivity!
3. Steward Your Money
Being wise stewards can bolster faith and finances. Stewarding money doesn’t just look like earning a paycheck and putting the whole thing under a rock (saving) without any risk. I recommend living off of 70%, but 80% is the sweet spot for many. Keep the 80% for debts, rent, food, fun, etc. Tithe 10%, put 5% with someone who can professionally invest it and personally invest the other 5%.
A financial planner can lift some of the burdens off of stewarding money. If numbers aren’t your strong suit, defer to a professional. We all have strengths for a reason. As I said, a big part of stewardship is recognizing your own limitations (scarcity). Then, you can become interdependent, leverage your connections, and walk into abundance. The cost of a financial professional pays for itself nine times out of ten.