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Business Stewardship

Business exists to produce shareholders’ value or profits.

This is a true statement, but can we actually thrive with this limited belief?

Business Stewardship

Stewardship means accepting your responsibilities.

Historically, a steward is a person who receives responsibility and authority from an owner to look after their property in the owner’s best interest. In short, a steward is a manager.

Unfortunately, stewardship is not a business term; it is not discussed in business textbooks or corporate boardrooms. As a result, few businesses even today are willing to take on the role of stewardship.

Stewardship in business, however, is essential.

Why Stewardship is Important

Although a lot of time and effort is spent crafting corporate mission and value statements, they mean nothing on paper.

The fundamental values are found in what a business does.

It’s how managers act. The way it uses shareholders’ funds. How it treats employees. It shows up in its health, safety, compensation, and environmental practices.

It’s not its policies but its practices that matter.

Stewardship means honest leaders must run businesses.

To get firms to practice good stewardship, leaders must act long-term in the owners’ best interests.

Society must force business leaders and Wall Street to move away from quarterly financial results’ focus. Continued short-term focus leads executives to sacrifice integrity for short-term gains.

Stewardship is not focusing on the firm’s impact of one isolated version of global warming. Alternatively, stewardship is being concerned about the overall environmental impact and how it can balance that concern with their entire business enterprise.

Stewardship is not making politically correct statements based on inerrant readings of a political decision some deem bad in our “woke” culture.  That is suffering fools badly. Instead, stewardship is considering how their business practices affect everyone all the time.

The Bible

Stewardship is a biblical term that all businesses would benefit from studying.

There is much effort today to convince businesses that their companies exist for a greater purpose.  Corporations today need to see their role to be more than just shareholders’ value or profits.

The biblical understanding of stewardship is to honor God, create wealth, and support the community through Christian service.

Not all corporations are going to follow this model of biblical stewardship to the extent of companies like Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby, but there is much to be learned from their approach to stewardship.

Biblical Stewardship

In biblical terms, the Holman Bible Dictionary defines stewardship as

“Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.”

Christian stewardship regards the obligation of Christians in managing and utilizing intelligently the gifts that God has given. The Christian steward is responsible for the financial blessings provided by God and the spiritual gifts that are passed through the Holy Spirit.

God wants human beings to be His stewards in the work of creation, redemption, and sanctification.

Importance of Stewardship

According to scripture, God created Earth for mankind, and we are now stewards of His creation.

This means it is our responsibility to look after and take care of this world.

We should accept this responsibility and appreciate God’s gift of creation for being our home. Our stewardship of creation involves the caretaking of the environment and animals as well as our families and communities.

Being a good steward in this world is one way of expressing our love for God and our gratitude to Him.

1 Peter 4:10 says.

 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Corporate America and Stewardship

Many are looking to our businesses and corporations to face the challenges of our world.  Their lists include climate change, water shortages, decreasing biodiversity, unequal distribution of wealth and economic opportunity, and social unrest.

God cares about all these issues, just like you and I do.

But he also cares about the degradation of morals and values that are eating away at the roots of our communities.  And this same degradation is often found within the list of causes being forced to be supported by corporate America.

God Owns it All

God is the creator and provider of everything.

While businesses need to do what they can to care for our planet and the various “crises” it is going through, they need to first and foremost care for their business, their employees, and their customers.