What is a steward? Paul today tells the Corinthians that he is a steward of the mysteries of God. What exactly does that mean? When we think of a steward, our first thought may be a person on a ship, or a caretaker of wine. One definition of steward that I find helpful here is “one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.”
In another passage Paul uses a similar notion when he refers to himself as an ambassador of Christ. In both instances there is a clear idea that must be front and center. Whether an agent, a steward or an ambassador, the center is Christ. It is not the case that the steward or agent can act in their own way, but must consider what is best for the person they represent.
So when Paul discusses a steward’s need to be trustworthy, what is needed is one who is faithful to the person of Jesus Christ. What is it that Jesus wants of those who are stewards? I think Pope Francis has caused many to think about what it means to be a leader in the Church, or a steward of God. Talking to nuncios, or his representatives in various countries, he told them to be “meek, patient and merciful.”