Webster's dictionary defines stewardship as "the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care". To relate more to our day to day lives, we are acting as stewards when we work in our church nursery and briefly care for another's child during services -- we are taking on responsibility for their children for a brief period of time. We are being stewards when we housesit for a friend that is out of town - we are taking on the responsiblity of caring for their home while they are away.
There are many, many ways that we act as stewards in our lives each day. The stewardship Paul addresses in these scriptures is probably the biggest one of them all. Paul is talking about being stewards for God. He writes that he has been given the stewardship from God to "complete the word of God". Is there any greater responsiblity we have than sharing God's Word with others? Making sure that we take part in ensuring that the news of God reaches all?
Paul took this stewardship very seriously. Paul was willing to put aside any comforts for himself in order to share God's Word. He traveled many miles without the convenience of a car or a train or an airplane with which to get him there easier or faster. He wrote out, by hand (not on a computer) letters to cities in which he shared with them about God's love and encouraged them in their Christian walk. Many of these letters he wrote from a prison cell.
I think about this and realize how much easier it is for us today to share God's love with our world, but wonder why so many times we hesitate. Do we fear what others might think? Paul didn't... he went to prison for sharing his beliefs. Do we fear that we will become tired? Paul didn't... he walked many miles to share his beliefs.
This road we journey as Christians is not always easy. Paul's life testifies to that. But, like Paul believes, isn't the end goal well worth any of the suffering, the struggles, the heartaches?