The word “stewardship” is the English translation of a secular Greek term formed from two words: “manage” and “house”. A steward is someone who manages someone else’s house (that is, all the owner possesses).
The word “steward” or “stewardship” is found 87 times in the New Testament. For example, Paul speaks of himself as a “steward” of the Gospel. He has received the “good news” from the Lord, and it has been given to him so that he can share it with others.
In two passages of Luke’s Gospel, it is even on the lips of Jesus.
New Testament writers use the words “steward” and “stewardship” to make the point that all people are God’s stewards, because everything that exists belongs to God.
Laws about ownership can help to keep good order in society. But legal “ownership” can be deceptive. A person only “owns” something in the sense that other human beings can’t claim it for themselves. For example, to take another person’s car is auto theft.
But in relation to God, no one ultimately owns anything. God is the owner of everything that exists. God created it, and it is God who continually keeps it in existence.
This is the fundamental meaning of stewardship: everything belongs to God.