The Five W’s And One H of Stewardship

The Five W’s And One H of Stewardship May 7, 2024

Blackboard set up on brick wall with who, what, why, where, when written on it
The Five W’s and One H of Stewardship – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How [Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]
Christians often associate the term “stewardship” with church campaigns to raise funds, perhaps for a new building or to support the budget. But stewardship is much broader than a one-time effort to obtain an infusion of money. In fact, the concept touches every aspect of a believer’s life. As a result, knowing the five W’s and one H of stewardship provides a good foundation for the Christian walk.

WHAT Is Stewardship?

The dictionary says stewardship concerns careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. As a biblical concept, stewardship means tending and using what God has given us for His glory and to help others.

The difference between the Christian concept and the world concept of stewardship lies in the identity of who entrusts something. In the world, that person could be a boss, a client, or a family member. A property manager, for example, oversees the care of a building for the owner who may be out of the area or has no time or expertise for the task.

In contrast, biblical stewardship focuses on what the Creator of the world has bestowed. God’s gift might be financial, such as believers blessed monetarily with disposable income. But stewardship extends to non-monetary and even intangible blessings such as free time, excess property, shareable talents, and spiritual gifts.

WHO Should Be A Steward?

The first stewards in the Bible, Adam and Eve, are found in its first book. Genesis 2:15 states God put the man, who we know as Adam, in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. This situation fits the definition of stewardship. The Garden of Eden, as well of the rest of the world, belonged to God. He entrusted these first stewards to be its caretakers.

Bible opened to the first page of Genesis
Genesis shows God intended man to be stewards of His world. [Image by Spencer Wing from Pixabay]
Adam and Eve are no longer around, but God’s world is. And humans populate it. Since God gifted humans with their earthly home, why wouldn’t He expect them to take care of it for Him? This reasoning gives the answer to the question “Who should be a steward?” The answer? Everyone. Bolstering that conclusion is 1 Peter 4:10 which instructs “Each of you” to be “faithful stewards” in serving others.

WHY Practice Stewardship?

God made clear from the way He set things up from the beginning that man should serve as His steward in the world. Scripture also expressly identifies a believer’s role as a “steward,” and instructs believers to use the gifts they have received from God to serve others. Serving others constitutes obedience to Jesus’ command to His followers in John 13:34 to love one another. Sharing what we have with others also allows Christians to adhere to Matthew 6:19‘s directive not to store up treasures on earth.

In addition, stewardship provides a means for showing God our gratitude for what He has done for us. He gave us a beautiful world to live in. Thank God by taking care of it for Him. He gave us life. Express appreciation by using that time wisely and to glorify Him. Show love for Him by serving others like He did with whatever gifts He has provided.

Illustration of different colored hands raised against white background under words "VOLUNTEERS NEEDED"
Volunteering is an act of stewardship of your time. [Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]

WHEN To Practice Stewardship?

According to James 1:17, “Every good and perfect give is from above.” Accordingly, nothing we have been given, whether life, money, property, talents, resources, or opportunities, is ours. So we must be stewards with all we have, requiring an ongoing, continuing practice of stewardship.

A better way of viewing stewardship characterizes it as a lifestyle, not an activity. Stewardship is not a one-time thing or an occasional endeavor. Our responsibility as Christians is to live our lives based on God’s trust in us to manage His gifts well as He desires. The mindset is acknowledging God’s ownership and our corresponding responsibility and accountability to Him. Believers are to always practice stewardship as a result.

WHERE To Practice Stewardship?

Although a biblical concept, stewardship is not a concern only as relates to the church. Our lives and the entire world belong to Him. Thus, any place a believer finds himself is a good place to practice stewardship.

At home, attention can be paid to family budgeting to allow for charitable donations. Efforts can be made to recycle materials used in the house. Unwanted but still usable property can be donated for the needs of others.

Illustration of the Earth on a light blue background wrapped inside a green recycling symbol
Recycling helps to care for the world God gave us [Image by Mollyroselee from Pixabay]
Outside the home, time can be spent volunteering, assisting others in the community with talents, abilities, and resources a believer may have. The possibilities for where to practice stewardship are endless. Could you tutor a child at school? Visit a shut-in at their home? Help care for animals in a shelter? Donate blood at a blood bank? Drop off outgrown clothing at a thrift store?

HOW To Practice Stewardship?

The H of the five W’s and one H of stewardship is how. The practice of stewardship should involve thinking. One of God’s gifts to us is our mind. He would be pleased if believers put them to work to intelligently use their gifts. Finances, for example, require careful consideration. Devising a budget specifically allotting money for charitable donations (and sticking to it) makes it more likely that money will be available for that purpose and that donations occur regularly. An automatic deduction from a paycheck removes the necessity of having to remember to write a check. And, money won’t accompany believers to heaven, consider drawing up a will leaving money to worthy causes or ministries.

Glass cup with label marked "DONATE" sitting on a table surrounded by coins
Disposable income can be used to serve others through donations. [Image by bohed from Pixabay]
And where does the money go? Rather than simply giving money to any organization that holds out a hand, take the time to check out the organization and what it does with the money. Do they practice good stewardship of the money received? Check a site like Charity.Navigator to learn specific details.

Budgeting time is also helpful. Time is a human’s most valuable asset, and Psalm 90:12 encourages us to use it wisely.

Plan a weekly or monthly schedule which includes volunteer work. Without planning, some other activity will fill that time slot. Planning, however, is not always required. Be open to last minute or real time opportunities which present themselves.

Summarizing Stewardship

Stewardship involves faithfully caring for that given to us. Everything a Christian has, whether tangible (money, property) or intangible (time, opportunities, talents/abilities), comes from God. A believer’s job is to faithfully and wisely use these gifts to glorify God and serve others. To live up to this responsibility, knowing the five W’s and one H of stewardship provides a good foundation.

About Alice H. Murray
After 35 years as a Florida adoption attorney, Alice H. Murray now pursues a different path as Operations Manager for End Game Press. With a passion for writing, she is constantly creating with words. Her work includes contributions to several Short And Sweet books, The Upper Room, Chicken Soup For The Soul, Abba’s Lessons (from CrossRiver Media), and the Northwest Florida Literary Review. Alice is a regular contributor to GO!, a quarterly Christian magazine in the Florida Panhandle, and she has three devotions a month published online by Dynamic Women in Missions. Her devotions have also appeared in compilation devotionals such as Ordinary People Extraordinary God (July 2023) and Guideposts’ Pray A Word A Day, Vol. 2 (June 2023) and pray a word for Hope (September 2023). Alice’s first book, The Secret of Chimneys, an annotated Agatha Christie mystery, was released in April 2023 with a second such book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, to be released in April 2025. On a weekly basis, Alice posts on her blog about current events with a humorous point of view at You can read more about the author here.

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