Friday, May 24, 2013

Remembering and Stewardship: They're More Closely Related Than You Might Imagine

Memorial Day is a holiday designed to remember those who've given their lives to preserve and protect our country. In addition to "remembering," shouldn't stewardship be part of the expression of appreciation?

In the Bible, there's a parable about a guy who goes on a long trip and leaves three of his most trusted employees with some valuables. One employee squanders his share of the valuables, another buries his, and another invests his - with great returns. The guy eventually comes back to town, expresses his frustration with the first employee, his disappointment with the second, and bestows his praise on the third.

The parable is about stewardship - handling what you've been given in the wisest, most honorable way, so as to demonstrate respect for the giver through showing him/her that you were able to act in the manner that they'd anticipated you would.

I think that demonstrating wise stewardship in every area of life is important: with our health, our relationships, our careers, our spiritual practice, our community, our country and our planet.

Too often, we go about our lives with a fairly blasé attitude toward most every area of live that we've been given opportunity to demonstrate wise stewardship over. We are passive about matters of health. Our relationships are neglected, save for those most easily accessed. Year in, year out, we show up at our jobs with little-to-no passion, doing just enough work to get by. Spirituality becomes more of a cookie-cutter club-culture, if EVERYBODY we know is attending the same house of worship. Keeping to ourselves, it's easy to exist in a community without ever really being known - that gets too "messy" and can be inconvenient. While we are quick to jump on the bandwagon for one side or another of the politic du jour, it can be less glamorous - even boring - to get involved in the nitty-grittiness of actually caring enough about our this country to be the janitor-equivalent of helping to keep the infrastructure running smoothly in this operation that is the USA. When it comes to demonstrating good stewardship over this planet that we all have been entrusted with, rarely do any of us consider the ramifications of our cleaning products, our use of fuel, or our addiction to consumerism on the quality of air, soil and water in our own country, much less on the other side of the world.


Doesn't the sacrifice of others' deserve the honor and respect of our good stewardship? Which "employee" from the parable most resembles your current actions?

Many of us readily know things that we could do differently to live better lives, yet for a myriad of reasons, we simply don't do them. Take a moment to articulate three things you could do differently to practice better stewardship.

When you "remember" this weekend, consider stewardship. Consider the ways that you can demonstrate your appreciation for valuable sacrifices that have occurred that enable you to live the life you could be living if you were walking a walk that practiced good stewardship, and then do it.

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