Created to BE Stewards

Every year at this time, I get asked, “Where do you buy your plants?”  My answer reveals much about what I think of God’s first Commission for man.  We were Created to BE Stewards.

Genesis 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground– trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

It makes me smile that God’s first job for mankind to do was to enjoy gardening within God’s sanctuary.  He didn’t create us to just view the garden.  He created us to work it and take care of it: stewardship!

For us, stewardship is more than just money or time.  Despite the million sermons on stewardship that focus on giving to the Church and the need to scale back our lifestyles to give more by way of a financial tithe, stewardship is far bigger than paid pastors often admit.  Stewardship is not synonymous with stingy or cheap…even if it results in the noble goal of supporting missionaries or the Church.

Big picture stewardship is what we see in the Parable of the Talents: putting God’s resources to work as if God Himself were putting them to work (Matthew 25:14-30).  Do we ever see a penny-pinching God scaling back and being miserly in order to bless someone else?  Or do we see a God with infinite resources looking for faithful stewards on whom to lavish it?  We act sometimes as though Church-supported missionaries are the only people God cares about…or that vocational missionaries are the only ones sent to reach a world in need of God’s love.

Stewardship involves discerning where God wants us to invest what He has given to us.  So, sometimes I try to save money and grow things from seed or buy things at a “big box” store like Home Depot where I worked for several years.  Other times, I will buy plants and other products from smaller independent stores where their livelihoods depend on shoppers willing to spend more for a product to keep them in business.  There are times that I will buy things from places that are little “mom-and-pop” stores where I pay a premium for something truly unusual in order to preserve their niche in the marketplace and put food on their tables.   

Today, I will pick up flowers I ordered from a local food pantry called COOL (Christian Outreach of Lutherans).  Even though I don’t go to a Lutheran church, I love people who do and the people they help through their food pantry.  Yes, I may pay more for the joy of helping their fundraiser, but this is all part of being a steward.  Maybe you have a fundraiser in your area that does something similar.

We can witness to a world in need of God’s love through how we spend money.  When God gives resources into our families, He is using us as His hands and feet to supply the needs of others.  Church supported ministers and missionaries, yes, I don’t want to diminish that.  But people with financial needs work at Home Depot, small independents, premium outlets, and go to food pantries.  God is providing for them through us…just as others are God’s instruments to provide for our needs.  We are not to bury our talent in the local church institution and burden it with caring for every family—everywhere—and to put food on everyone’s tables. 

God commissions us all for fruitful Kingdom work in many places—we were Created to BE Stewards.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Chapel Worship/News, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on May 7, 2011

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