My youngest son Tucker doesn’t understand sharing very well yet. When given the opportunity, he grabs everything in sight and pulls it as close as he can to himself. He believes if he lets go of something, he loses it. I’ve struggled with that concept in my adult life.
Recently this thought has opened up the idea of stewardship for me. Merriam Webster tells me that stewardship means:
the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care
Most of my life I’ve heard stewardship in the context of money. The concept goes something like this: Your money is not yours. It’s a gift from God. How you view that money, and how you use that money describes your stewardship of those resources.
I don’t disagree with those thoughts, but I think there’s more to it than that. If we look at the definition there are lots of things beyond money that I’m “conducting, supervising, or managing”. Where good stewardship comes into play is when I ask myself if I’m “careful and responsible” in the management of those things.
A few things I thought about that I am called upon to steward:
- Am I responsible in the way I carry myself and care for Corrie in keeping with the vows I made to her?
- Do I view my relationship with her only through the lens of how it benefits me, or do I include how it benefits her, and how we, together, can benefit others?
- Am I careful with the things I expose my children too?
- What role do I play in their spiritual development?
- Am I allowing an ever-increasing openness for them to explore God in their own life and not just through the faith in God they see in me?
- Do I believe God is my provider, or do I believe provision to be a result of my ability and effort?
- Do I allow God to use me to direct resources He’s entrusted to me toward others, for His glory?
- Am I trustworthy with the resources God has given to me?
- Is my private relationship with God at least as strong as the public relationship on display for others?
- Are ministry opportunities about His name or mine?
- Do I look for opportunities to minister when no one is looking?
*while my job is in full-time vocational ministry, I believe I am accountable for my work ethic and patterns, separate from the call of God and opportunities of ministry I may have.
- Am I a good employee?
- Do I manage the people who report to me in the way I want to be treated?
- Is my work ethic indicative of someone who is committed to honesty, integrity, and bringing glory to Jesus?
Some of these questions may not connect with you, but they do for me as I strive to be a good steward in every area of my life. As I trust God more and more everyday, I realize that everything I’ve been given is not just for me…It’s also for those around me.
How does it change my marriage if I view it not only for me, but as an opportunity to model Godly mutual submission, accountability, love, and faithfulness to people in my sphere who don’t have a good working model?
How does it change the way I parent if I view my children as developing instruments of God who need to be free to explore what God is speaking into their own hearts?
How much margin do I create in my monthly budget if I know God wants to use the resources He’s entrusted to me in order to bless someone I’ll come in contact with in the coming days?
Ultimately stewardship is a trust issue.
Do I trust Him enough to take everything He’s given to me, and give back to Him?
How would you steward the things of your life differently if you realized it’s not about you, but about God and the story He’s writing in the world?