When you think of the word Stewardship you may think, “uh oh, it’s time to talk money again at church,” and you would be partly correct, but Stewardship includes so much more. Stewardship (as defined in Webster’s Dictionary) refers to “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” When we explore the nature of stewardship there are several questions that need to be considered (1) of what are we stewards; what has been entrusted to our care? (2) To who does that over which we are stewards, belong? (3) Are we all called to be stewards? If we can answer these questions, then we as God’s people will have a sound, theological understanding of one of the most important responsibilities we have as disciples of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Take a moment and breathe in, hold it for a second, now breathe out. Consider for a moment that every aspect of our lives is transitory. Each breath we take, each moment we spend in our lives, all the work we have been given to do, everything we have, and every relationship we share, is really not ours to control. We are stewards for a fleeting time. All this, which we have been entrusted to care is for the span of our lives alone. The time we have been given, the talents with which we have been graced, and the treasure with which we oversee are all gifts that we have been entrusted to us for a brief time.
The fact that God is the Creator and the source of everything, is at the core of our confessional faith. When we recite the Nicene Creed, we proclaim, “We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven Earth.” When we make that statement, we are acknowledging that God is the source of everything we survey, everything with which we come in contact, and everything with which we are entrusted to care. We often struggle to grasp that God is the ultimate source of our Time, Talent and Treasure, because each one of us considers our own work and efforts as the catalyst for all that we have been given. Yet, if we acknowledge that God is the source of everything, then we acknowledge too that all that we have, all that we are, and all that we do ultimately is for God’s purposes. Our Time, Talent, and Treasure all belong to someone else; they belong to God and as such, their use and ultimate intention is for the fulfillment of God’s purpose.
The charge that “We all are called to be stewards,” is not something of which, we can “opt-out.” Whether we respond to the fact that we are stewards or not, whether we manage all that we are, all that we have been given, and all that we do in such a way that fulfills God’s purpose for our lives, the fact remains that we are stewards. Our Time, Talent, and Treasure have been given to us with the responsibility for conducting, supervising, or managing them so that they ultimately fulfill their intended purpose. Stewardship is our responsibility, not our choice.