A steward is a person who has been entrusted with administering someone else’s wealth or affairs. The possessions a steward controls are not his own and he does not have the freedom to do with them as he wishes. He is supposed to carry out the desires of the one who made him steward.
A banker is a steward. He has been entrusted with other people’s money. He is free to invest that money wisely in a way that will benefit his depositors and stockholders, but would be sent to jail if he took all that money and simply consumed it upon himself. A steward is accountable (Lk. 16:2) to someone else for the use of that person’s money. The money does not belong to him even though it is in his possession.
This parable, and other scriptures (1 Cor. 4:1; Ti. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:10), describes every believer as a steward of God’s grace. The wealth, talents, and abilities we possess, as well as the revelation of God’s love that we’ve been given, are not our own to do with as we please. We have received these things from God and are therefore accountable to Him for the use or misuse of these gifts. Keeping this in mind is essential for fulfilling our obligation to God as stewards of His ‘manifold grace.’