Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Real, Basic Stewardship

 

You gave them charge of everything you made,

     putting all things under their authority.

At this time of year, many churches focus on stewardship. For sixteen
years as pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I would preach sermons
on this core biblical theme. Yes, these sermons were part of our effort
to encourage people to make “faith commitments,” financial pledges to
support the ministry of the church in the next year. But I continually
reminded my congregation that real stewardship wasn’t about money.
Rather, it was living our whole lives in faithfulness to God’s intention
in making us in his image and giving us charge over his creation.

Psalm
8 celebrates real, basic stewardship. The psalm begins by praising the
majesty of God as revealed in creation. Yet the glory of God in the
universe accentuates the apparent insignificance of human beings: “What
are people that you should think about them?” (8:4). The startling
answer to this question comes from the very creation of humanity, as
revealed in Genesis 1 and underscored in Psalm 8. God, in fact, created
humanity “a little lower than God” and “crowned them with glory and
honor” (8:5). Moreover, he delegated to human beings the care of his
creation: “You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all
things under their authority” (8:6). God made us to be his stewards who
manage his creation for his purposes and benefit.

Thus,
stewardship is about far more than supporting the church financially,
however important this may be. Real, basic stewardship is about living
our whole lives in faithfulness to our created purpose as human beings.
We do this by giving to Christian ministries, to be sure, but also by
the way we function at work, by the way we treat our neighbors, by how
we vote, by how we relate to others, by our wise care for the earth, and
by innumerable other acts of faithful stewardship.

The more we
reflect upon the majesty of God in creation, and the more we take to
heart whom God has created us to be, the more we will live each moment
of each day in response to our high calling as divine stewards.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
When you hear the words “stewardship” or “steward,” what comes to mind?
Do you think of yourself as someone entrusted with care for God’s
creation? What would it mean for you to live as a steward in the context
of your work? your family? your neighborhood? your school? your church?
your city? How might our stewardship impact the way we think about the
world?

PRAYER: O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

The
more I reflect upon your greatness, the more I am astounded that you
would think about me. It’s even more amazing that you have chosen to
make me a steward of your creation and redemption. I get to participate
in your work of caring for and redeeming the cosmos. How incredible!

O
Lord, may I be a faithful steward for you. Help me to honor you in all
the places where you have given me influence or authority. May I serve
you well at work and at home. May I represent you accurately in my
relationships and in my business transactions. May I use well the money
you have entrusted to me, being careful in spending it and generous in
giving it. Teach me, Lord, to be a true steward every single day.

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Amen.

_________________________________________________

Would you like to receive a Daily Reflection like this one in your email inbox each morning? 

Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.

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