Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine..."

Often when it comes to stewardship I often find myself thinking in terms of 'mine'.  How do I use my talents to benefit others?  How do I share my treasure?  How can I be a better steward of my children?  All of this results in unintentionally self-centered thinking.  The world and my impact on it is put in a box, one that ends where I think what is mine ends.

In reality, nothing I 'own' is mine.  That's the point of stewardship.

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster:
steward1 : one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts): a fiscal agent4
a : an employee on a ship, airplane, bus, or train who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengersb : one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution5
: one who actively directs affairs

None of these definitions say "owner".  So in fact all I 'have' does not belong to me -- not even my children.   Especially not my children.  Lets look at those questions again: 

How do I use God's talents to benefit others?  How do I share God's treasure?  How can I be a better steward of God's children?

Doesn't that open things up a lot more?  My world and what I can do is no longer limited by me and to me.  The one that strikes me the most today is the last one.  When I asked myself "How can I be a better steward of my children?" I was limited to my own children -- two adorable easy to love people.  But God's children?  That's everyone -- my husband, my parents, my brothers, my neighbors, the men lined up outside Oliver Gospel Mission, the annoying lady yelling into a cell phone at the doctor's office, rapists, that guy driving a Mercedes that cut me off last week -- lots of people that aren't so easy to love all the time (though the first three are indeed easy to love!).  And how about being their steward?  We know from Genesis never ask God "Am I my brother's keeper?"  You be in da dog house for that.

Sometimes its easy to know what to do, just not how to do it.  Our health *not so much* care system is a great example of one of the ways we fail as a nation to be good stewards of the least and the not so least among us.  More time and energy is spent devising and protecting methods to make money off of sick people than is spent actually making people well.  There are plenty of people who want to help their neighbor, I would like to believe, but more often than not money, red tape, and inaccessibility get in the way.  Someone has to pay for the tests, the medicines, and the surgeries.  The higher the profit margin, the more those things cost, and the less affordable they become.  Granted, people need to make some money, but there's a difference between making a killing and making a living.  As Lone Star (Spaceballs) would say, "Take only what you need to survive."  The result are low and low-middle income adults who are holding down a job, but still can't afford health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid.  If these adults get seriously ill or injured, they are screwed. They end up becoming sub-productive members of society and fall further into poverty due to bills for medical care and/or becoming disabled because of the financial barriers to medical care.

This certainly isn't our only call in being good stewards of God's children.  It is a daily call -- one to treat others with respect, tenderness, and care, to help where and when we can, and to always put others first.

C'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve.

PS: I totally just quoted the Bible and Spaceballs in the same post.  That just happened.


  1. The postscript just made me laugh. :)

  2. By the way sis,
    "This is my industrial strength hairdryer. And I can't live without it!"