Posted by: Judy | March 2, 2017

Responsibility vs Stewardship

These have been nattering in my head lately, so I figure I need to do a little research. What did I find? Not much.

Google Definitions:

Responsibility: the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone; the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something; the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.

Stewardship: the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.

Not helpful, particular once it occurred to me that unions have stewards. Not what I had in mind and not helpful with what I was attempting to unravel.

Why the interest?

I’ve been thinking about how abuse survivors were blamed for everything and held responsible for their own care and the care of their abusers. Needless to say, being responsible is a mental mind game I constantly battle. I’m endeavoring to find another way to tackle it.

While I was on my morning walk, yesterday, what pops into my head? Steward. I’m a lousy steward when it comes to taking proper care of my body. I’m still emotional eating, stuffing emotions with every bite.

What do I hope to gain?

Maybe by changing which word I use I’ll be able to adjust my thinking.

No one does mind games like abusers, which means survivors have to learn to beat them at their own game, with a twist. They cheat. Not engaging is proving to be a healthy option, for me. However, it’s easier for me to disengage if I choose to think differently than how I was trained.

Truth be told, there’s little difference between Responsibility and Stewardship, surface differences. However, a noticeable difference for me is that Responsibility is nowhere in the Bible, whereas Stewardship is. For many, this means nothing. For me, endeavoring to live more Biblically, this is significant. Yes, I understand that translation makes a difference.

Next stop, the etymology dictionary. Responsibility first showed up in 1787, though the root word responsible is shown as originating in 1590s. Stewardship is from the mid 1500s. According to the etymology dictionary the “responsible use of resources in the service of God” dates to 1899. However, this makes no sense when one considers the use of Stewardship in Luke; the King James version of the translation into English was commissioned in 1604. I suppose the definition is based on the parables, but only if one takes the Bible literally. Jesus spoke in parables, storytelling. His teachings weren’t temporal only but spiritual.

I am not responsible for all the things my abusers said I was.

God has given me a stewardship to make the most of the things He has given me, including everything from gifts and talents to my body. I’m failing. This life is about failing, falling down. Everyone fails. The defining factor is whether or not one gets up again.

In the parable of the talents (found in Matthew 25 and Luke 19 in the New Testament), one servant is given five talents, one servant is given two talents, and one servant is given one talent. The first two doubled their talents, and the master gave them more. The last servant hid the one talent give him, and the master took it away. Am I living like the first two servants or the last?

What are the talents God has given me?

Perhaps I need to define what my talents are… how can I accept responsibility, embrace my stewardship, if I don’t even know what I’m a steward over?



  1. Many people are given responsibilities, only a steward steps up and takes on the responsibility assigned to him. An abuser reassigns their responsibility to someone else hiding from what they were asked to take care of by blaming others. My thoughts this morning. Hugs. Reminder…we were so busy handling mother’s responsibilities we never learned what ours were. Be kind to yourself we are learning late in the game but we are learning. Hired late in the day we still get the same pay. Another parable

    • Thanks ((Ruth)) I appreciate the perspective. Guess it’s long overdue for me to determine what my responsibilities are.

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