In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."
The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the Bishop had said. In the months that followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. "The Messiah is one of us?" they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off, off chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care.
As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years, the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop's gift.
Stewardship in a Christian context refers to the responsibility that Christians have in maintaining and using wisely the gifts that God has bestowed.
Now, caught in this whole definition, one of my efforts here has been to try to describe what it means to be a disciple using as little churchish language as possible and trying to break it down in to the real basics so we can really get our arms around it. To inhale it, breathe it in and allow it to become us and second nature. And yet, right in the middle of this definition is this word stewardship. What does that mean? Well, a steward is an old fashioned word, but this is the definition;
Someone who manages the property, finances or household of another.
You, as a Christian, quite frankly, do not own a thing. The heavenly Father blesses us, he giveth and he taketh away. I realize now that, the Lord blessed me over and over, through out all these years. I squandered it, abused it, did not appreciate it and when it came to money, I was extremely irresponsible. I think the most important gift, given to me by God, were my children. We often, do not realize that our children are not ours. They are God's children, we are entrusted with them, to practice good stewardship upon and to ingrain within. In this day and age, we have, most certainly, distorted the American Dream. In our quest for money, big cars and big homes, most families require a two income source. More and more, women, are working to make this "Dream," happen. I don't care how good, of a parent, you believe you are being, something is sacrificed, in the name of progress and this dream, we are fixated upon. We are not practicing good stewardship, when we allow our children to be raised by T.V., video, video games and the internet. Often, we are just happy they are amused, giving us a moment to breathe. Everything is rushed and the family unit, values and our belief system, as we knew it, is slowly disappearing. All in the name of this false American Dream. I call it... "Drive-by Parenting."
God is our provider, in all things. Often times, we become spoiled, confusing the things we "want," with what we actually, "need." Do we really need, that brand new car? Do we have to have, that expensive home with the latest model appliances and furnishings? More importantly, we lie to ourselves, saying that we want what's best, only the very best, for our children. The very best thing, you can give your children, is surely not to be driven to school, in a brand new SUV? Surely, it is not important to provide them, with a huge home and all the electronics, cell phones and the likes? Drive-by parenting, is the best you can do, when you must work late, prepare dinner, do the laundry, pick up the house, mow the lawn, do the shopping and drive the kids here and there . When, is there time to nurture and teach? When, is there time to plant all the seeds, that need to be sewn concerning, God, values, beliefs, not to mention education, as a whole?
Is it good stewardship to allow the media to mentor your children and the school system to be their only education? I think not and I truly believe that we do not see these things, these blessings, we receive from The Almighty, as gifts. Do we respect our children and in turn, teach them respect? Do we teach them about real love and respect for our fellow man? These children are our future and I have to believe that our world, our lives, our very Nation is in, the tumultuous times it is in because of these simple applications of Stewardship and their lack thereof. Watch as we single handedly ruin every good thing, every gift, we, undeserved, have received.
Are you practicing good stewardship?
I can not think of a better way to honor my Father, Angus Wootten, on his Birthday, than to let him know, that, his life lessons, his teachings, make perfect sense to me now. A talented speaker, my Dad, often speaks of good stewardship. In fact, as I thought of what I would write here today, "good stewardship," rang out, as his personal words to me. Of course, in my youth, I scoffed at the very mention of those words. I want what I want, when I want it and personal responsibility, was not in my vocabulary. Often, when my heavenly Father blessed me, I scoffed at my Dad's corrective suggestions of good stewardship, especially in a monetary sense. So many times, he gave advice and so many times I didn't listen. I had to learn the hard way. But I am grateful for the seeds of perception sewn, by my Dad. God's good grace, allowed the scales to be removed from my eyes on so many things, it took maturation to finally see. The very concept of good stewardship and the understanding, that we must see all things as Yahweh's gifts to us, was sewn more than 30 years ago by my Dad. I am grateful for his good stewardship, he has done his job, as a parent. He has been a good Father.
Lt.Col. Angus E.Wootten