Stewardship: the conducting, supervising or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care (Merriam-Webster.com).
We always think of church fund-rasing campaigns when we hear the word “stewardship”, but it is so much more. When we remember that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17), we must begin to feel a weight of responsibility. God is so good to us. He gives us health, intellect, materials blessings, and so many wonderful relationships (with Him, a spouse, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and more)…that we should be very grateful to Him. Our gratitude and our understanding of the value of these gifts should lead us to stewardship, the careful and responsible management of them. Yet often we take for granted our blessings so that we squander them or neglect them or, even worse, sabotage them.
What does God call us to do? What are His expectations of us? Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25? A man went on a journey and entrusted to three servants gold in the monetary from of a “talent”. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘˜Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘˜Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master’ (Matt 25:20). There were two other servants, one who did well, and one who did not, to whom the Master said,‘˜You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ (Matt 25:26-27). God expects us to care for (preserve) and grow our blessings. He wants to see an increase in His investment in us. How has He invested good into your life? What are you called to grow or increase?
As for me, I often feel the weight of the good things that God has provided for me…good health, I have always been grateful for it, but have I been a good steward of it? In October, I finally stopped complaining and decided to start exercising. I am trying to eat right, in moderation: fewer treats, more balance in the diet…but this is always a struggle! I am trying to start feeding my intellect properly too because sometimes it is on a starvation diet! Be on the lookout for Book Club in the next few weeks, a chance for you to grow yours with me! In terms of material blessings, I am working to be more conscientious in my spending. Budgeting and shopping fall to me in our house, so I have to be careful, self-controlled and wise (this is sometimes quite a struggle!). We recently decided to increase our giving, beyond what we are already giving at church, to add in some outside ministries, and this certainly will impact our budget and require us to be even more careful. And finally, God expects me to care for and grow the relationships He has gifted me with: to continue to desperately seek Him and to become more and more the person He calls me to be, and to grow in my desire and ability to care for all the people in my life, especially those closest to me. Sometimes it feels like God is asking more than I can do…there are times when impatience, grudges, hurt, and selfishness can creep in…but I see so much that God asks us to serve, not only for the good of others, but also because it is good for us to do it. It helps us to be more like Jesus. I wrote about that another time in my “Called” series. You can read about it here.
I think that stewardship sounds like more work that it is…when I reflect deeply on all the blessings God has given me…my big, big gratitude does compel me to preserve them, nurture them, and grow them…I just need to be more consistent. How about you?
JustAgirl…just like you