10 Aug 2016
“Stewardship” is a word that carries a lot of baggage. In the church setting, it usually means somebody wants money; that’s what “stewardship” means. And that’s too bad, because it’s really a beautiful idea—stewardship.
If anyone’s been a baby sitter, you know what it’s like to be a steward. If you’ve ever planted a garden, you know what it’s like to be a steward. If you’re somebody who likes to do what you’re good at, you know what it’s like to be a steward. A steward is a caretaker, a nurturer, somebody who realizes that creation—and all that’s in it—is a gift from God. A steward is someone who loves to see life lived to the fullest.
And so, it’s a shame that stewardship has become just a code word that means: People want your money. It’s much deeper than that. It isn’t that “people want your money”—it’s that “God wants you!” Our life, our existence is a gift from God. We didn’t earn it. It just happened that, for each of us, one day we realized that we were a living thing, a child of God. And we spend our whole lives trying to be the best child of God we can be. We’re stewards of life, of faith, hope, and charity.
Saint Paul writes that “God loves a cheerful giver;” one who gives “without sadness or compulsion.” Ever see a teenager wake up and not want to go to school—but they do it because they have it? Compare that with a student who wakes up and looks forward to a day of learning, a day of new adventures. It’s that second one who’s being a steward of their life—they’re trying to live up to the potential that God put into their spirit. They give themselves over to that potential. And that student is a steward of their own life.
When Jesus talks about the “flowers in the field,” and how they give more glory to God than all the splendor of Solomon, he’s saying that those flowers are simply being what they were destined to be—a flower in the field. To borrow the old Army slogan, to “Be All You Can Be” is to give glory to God, and it’s to be a good steward of the life God has given us.
And that gift of life never stops—unless, of course, we stop being good stewards of our life. So, today, let’s remember those precious gifts that are the foundation of our life: the gifts of faith, hope, and love. Let’s remember to pray and have faith, to have hope and take it easy, and to love and remember God who loves us first.