Reflections on Stewardship
The Greatest Treasure
Would you invest the way God does? Would you dare to entrust your wealth to people who don’t always follow your desires, your plans and hopes?
Good thing we’re not God. He dared to create something beautiful and then entrust its use
and care to mankind – beings He created in His image. He does hold us accountable.
It is our hope, that this column will be of regular interest and a help to you in your stewardship (the use and care) of all the assets that God has entrusted to you.
Let’s begin this column on stewardship by unpacking ‘all’. What’s included in our stewardship?
This world, the created order, is an obvious answer from the opening of this column. Others will be quick to point out that stewardship is about money and our possessions. But less obvious is the stewardship of our time and our skills and abilities (talents). All these aspects of stewardship are important (we’ll unpack them further in this column) and therefore require of us good management, but they are not the main focus for stewardship nor are they our greatest treasure.
The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians (4:7) talks about “treasure in jars of
clay”. Jars of clay are fragile and easily broken and that is what Paul is comparing us to. Yet, God would dare to invest in us and fill us with a great treasure. That treasure that Paul is talking about is the ‘good news’ - our sins have been completely paid for once and for all. We now have the rights as children of God and a part of the heavenly kingdom. That’s liberating and we receive it as a gift by grace. We sometimes become complacent about how great this treasure is, so I’ll share a true story.
Twenty-eight years ago in the summer of 1976, I needed someone to take care of our small CRWRC project office in Bogra, Bangladesh so that I could spend more time with our staff in the field. I hired a very qualified and conscientious young accountant named Fansu. He was an excellent and reliable worker but he was also a very devout Muslim. When we would travel together it would often happen that one of the five daily prayer times would occur during our trip. Fansu would then ask if I would stop at a clear spot on the side of the road so that he could pray. When we had found a decent and safe place he would ask me to point him in the direction of Mecca and then he would carefully place his mat to face Mecca and begin his prayer ritual. I too would spend the time in prayer but more in a posture that I was used to. I knew that some day he too would want to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam that every devout Muslim should do if he or she can. Several years later, he did get the opportunity and he left his job with us for Mecca. Many more years later I caught up with him in the United States where he now lived. When we met I asked him how he was doing. His reply to me went something like this: „Rick, you know how zealous I am about my faith. I have
and am still doing my best to meet all the requirements. I‟ve done it all (the five pillars) and yet I‟m still very anxious. I‟m not sure that when I die and must meet Allah, that what I‟ve done will be accepted as good enough. Allah could still reject me! Each day I sin again!‟
Paul’s right! We have a great treasure – the treasure of sin paid for ONCE FOR ALL. Muslim,
Jews and Christians alike believe that the punishment for sin is death but only through Christ is
the sentence fully met. That is the treasure of which we are STEWARDS. He the sinless one is able to pay the debt for you and me the sinful ones.
All the above to say this: WE NEED to be GOOD STEWARDS so that we can maximize our resources so that this great treasure may be shared with all! We need to be good stewards of all or our people and physical resources to get this message out to as many as possible.
Please check in with this column as we hope to explore various aspects of our stewardship.
Stewardly Tip: Bar Soap
Use all of your bar soap all of the time and avoid plugging up the drain: Take out a new bar of soap before the old bar breaks up or about the thickness of 2 or 3 stacked pennies. Wet both and press them together and leave them to dry for half an hour or so.
Readers: We want to share your ‘Stewardly Tips’ so that we all can do our part to make better use of the resources God has entrusted to us. Please write or email or visit the CC website. Please leave your contact information so that we can acknowledge your contribution or, if we need to, we can ask you for more details.
Next issue: The 4 T’s of Stewardship