Stewardship - Origin of the word
(courtesy of Stewardship.org)
The steward, or “keeper of the hall”, was the official in a medieval household responsible for its management. Under the feudal system, it was the lord who had all of the legal authority. The steward had only a delegation of that authority, and a mandate to administer the estate. His stewardship of the estate was all-inclusive, from the broadest policies to the most trivial details. For the estate to function properly, the steward needed to hold himself accountable for all that took place in the household. He might delegate; but he would maintain an interest in all happenings, make it his business to know all of the operational details, and know when to intervene and when to concentrate on other matters. He would need to gather information, both from reports by the staff and from actual inspection of the estate. He would need to ensure that the staff was properly trained, and would understand their tasks as much as possible, to the point of being the primary instructor for all household tasks. It was, of course, an enormous responsibility. But the best steward would be the one who felt the responsibility on the deepest level, who identified with the role and carried it out with devoted industry.