Stewardship and discipleship are both words I’ve heard quite a bit in my life growing up in a church, but I always thought of them as super high positions that only the “really good” Christians good fill. That is most definitely not the case, so let’s dig into what both of these are really about.
What is stewardship? Stewardship is using the resources that God has given you in order to bring glory to him. We have many different resources such as money, time, and spiritual gifting’s that God has blessed us with. When we use them to help our community, the church, and apply them daily it is an act of worship because we are showing adoration towards our heavenly father.
Now let’s dig deeper into the similarities and differences through this post.
Stewardship & Discipleship
Stewardship and discipleship are two separate components of living a life that reflects Christ. To better understand the differences and similarities, we must first define each.
What Is Stewardship?
Stewardship is the act of applying the resources that God has blessed you with to your daily life in order to further his kingdom.
Resources can mean a variety of things, but in this context, I’m meaning your money, time, and spiritual gifts you have that you are able to use to help positively affect others.
You can use your money as an act of stewardship by tithing to your church, supporting missionaries, or even “paying it forward” by paying for a stranger’s meal. You could also give money to someone who is financially struggling.
Time is something we can use to glorify God by serving in our church weekly, serving in our community, meeting with a friend for coffee and talking to them about Jesus, serving on missions trips, and even spending time in God’s Word.
Spiritual gifts are skills/ attributes that God has gifted you to that you can use at your church, job, or even with your family and each helps bring glory to God in a different way.
What Is Discipleship?
Discipleship is the process of someone helping someone else apply and obey God’s Holy Word daily. It also involves sharing the good news in order to grow as a follower of Christ.
Discipleship can work two different ways for each of us, either we are the ones working towards being a disciple or we are discipling someone else.
The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we become a disciple. We are choosing to actively follow Christ. Becoming a disciple is not an easy task because of the sin nature in us due to the fall, it involves sacrifice and commitment to becoming more like Christ.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.Mark 8:34
In this verse, we are commanded to no longer put our own desires first, and to instead follow Christ in all that we do.
How Are Stewardship And Discipleship Are Different?
Though Stewardship and Discipleship are two completely different components in our walk as Christ-followers in several different ways, I’m going to focus on the two main ways they are different: By their definitions, and the spiritual gifts which pertain to each.
Ultimately stewardship is using the resources God has blessed you with in order to further his kingdom, whereas discipleship is pursuing growth as a follower of Christ.
In stewardship being a good steward is defined by using your outward resources to benefit your community and church. When doing this you are not specifically focusing on doing such things in order to grow into your own walk with Christ, and neither are you really pouring into your spiritual cup.
In Discipleship, you are investing all of the time you have available to pour into your spiritual cup by reading God’s word, focusing on your relationship with him, and trying to be a reflection of him in all you do.
What Are Spiritual Gifts That Apply To Each?
When you are working on growing in your spiritual gifting they end up pertaining to every aspect of your life including stewardship and discipleship.
Though actively using your spiritual giftings to benefit your community and church is a part of being a good steward, the two spiritual gifts you actively use while being a steward are hospitality and generosity.
Practicing hospitality is a key component to being a good steward because you must be welcoming, kind, and loving to everyone you engage with in order to show Jesus’ love. If we are a bad reflection of this then we will put a bad taste in others’ mouths when they hear or think about Christians.
Generosity is also an important spiritual gift to put into action as a steward because you must be willing to give what Christ has blessed you with in order to be a steward. If you keep all that he has blessed with you to yourself and are unwilling to share it with the kingdom, then you are disobeying God’s will for you.
For discipleship you must have the spiritual gift’s of teaching and faith.
Though teaching may not be one of your spiritual gifts you can grow in it as a disciple by really digging deep into God’s word to fully comprehend it, and in turn be able to share what you’ve learned from his word with others so that they may follow him.
You must have faith in order to be a disciple, because if you do not have faith in your heavenly father and all that he has planned for you, you will be incapable of finding a desire to grow in your relationship with him as well as to share his word with others.
How Are Stewardship And Discipleship Similar?
While discipleship and stewardship are two completely different concepts, they both beautifully intertwine with each other because together they help you live a life that is a reflection of Jesus.
The two key similarities of stewardship and discipleship are: you must be sanctified in the holy spirit to be a disciple and steward of Christ, and you must pursue Christ in all you do to thrive as both a good steward and disciple.
How Sanctification Ties Into Each
Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ, and being set apart from non-believers so that you may be pursued being used by God in order to further his kingdom.
Sanctification helps stewardship and discipleship work hand in hand, because; if you are not sanctified then you will have no desire or want to be a steward nor a disciple, but when you are sanctified, which we all are when we come to Christ, then you will have a hunger to grow in becoming more like Christ and allowing Him to use you as a tool to further his kingdom.
The Importance Of Pursuing Christ in All You Do
Being a good steward and disciple of Christ is part of pursuing Christ in all that you do.
Though you may not have time every hour of every day to serve at your or to be constantly in God’s word, you can still take parts of being a steward and disciple into every aspect of your life. These are both things you can practice with your family, friends, in your schooling, at your job, or even when adventuring.
As a steward and disciple of Christ, you must have a heart change from focusing on your wants and desires, to craving God’s desires for you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13
If you have your heart focused on bringing glory to God in all that you do and pursuing him then this will be reflected in your daily life when completing your daily tasks.
As you pursue this path of shaping yourself to be a better disciple and steward for your heavenly father, remember that we are not perfect and you will fail, but when you keep your eyes on in him he will delight in all that you accomplish for his kingdom while on earth.