Ready or not, 2017 is here. And with this fresh year comes an opportunity to think about what we’re doing with all that God has given us.
Let’s pause and talk about stewardship.
“Stewardship” does not seem like a very exciting word, especially because we tend to use it in boring ways, mainly when we’re talking about avoiding debt, raising money for a new roof on the church building, or saving money on new carpet. For many people, the word “stewardship” has come to mean “saving money,” “being frugal,” or “giving money to my church.” But stewardship is a much bigger concept that goes way beyond money and applies to every single area of our lives. And actually, it can be pretty exciting when you think about it.
Because here’s the deal with stewardship. A steward is a royal official, appointed by the king or queen, charged with caring for the kingdom–and perhaps ruling in the monarch’s place–when the ruler is absent. We are stewards in God’s great kingdom. That means we have been given charge of much, with the expectation that we make much of it.
Stewardship means everything belongs to God. God has placed us in positions of responsibility over his creation—and that includes responsibility for specific people and things. But we are not owners; we are charged with care of these people and things on behalf of their rightful owner. The good things in our lives are not ours to ignore, squander, spend, save, cherish, or despise as we will. They are God’s, and they exist for God’s glory.
God has entrusted you with material goods, spiritual gifts, talents and abilities, relationships, opportunities, and experiences so you will take good care of them, encourage their potential, grow in faith and faithfulness, worship God with what he has given you, and ultimately bring him greater glory on earth. But it’s not just what you have that God has given you. It’s also who you are. You are charged with stewardship of your personality, story of faith, heritage, temperament, culture, and training, and the dreams God has placed in your heart.
If you’re a Christian, you may sometimes believe that understanding yourself and honoring your own inclinations is selfish or self-indulgent and at odds with the idea of denying yourself to follow Christ. But various Scriptures (like Psalm 139:15-16; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:28; Romans 12:4-8; and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31) show us that God has intentionally made you unique and assigned you a role in his family. The lives of biblical people like Moses, Esther, Ruth, Paul, and Timothy show us that God has made each of us on purpose and by design. Denying yourself means giving up the right to serve yourself with what God has given you, offering all these things to God instead–not denying or devaluing what he has placed within you.
Part of being a good steward means recognizing who you are and why God made you and placed you where and when he did. It is honoring the gifts God has given you, your personality, genetics, spiritual gifts, and heritage. All these parts of who are are can help you answer the question, What are you here for?
So what are you here for this year? What will it mean for you to make the most of what God has given you, and who he has made you, for the sake of his kingdom? What will you do with you in 2017?
© 2017 Amy Simpson.