When I was in primary school, I remember a fable printed in our pew sheets one Sunday about stewardship. It was about a child who wanted a horse or a dog or some other large animal pet that took lots of care. After a lot of begging and pleading, the kids’ grandfather gave them a pet mouse in a box with a wheel and all the accoutrement that go with pet mice. The grandfather checked in weekly with the child about how the mouse was going.
The child was interested in the mouse but completely disappointed and while they started out looking after it well enough, interest lost out to life and in the way of these things, the health of the mouse suffered until it eventually passed away.
When the grandfather visited again, and enquired about the mouse, it eventually came out that the child had not done their due diligence by the mouse.
Push comes to shove, this story was to illustrate: if we can’t look after the small things that are given to us, how can we be trusted to look after big things that we want.
(Personally, I think if you’re going to give a child a mouse to illustrate this principle, you’d need to explain it, because kids aren’t going to make those kinds of intuitive leaps and it’s irresponsible of an adult to allow an animal to die due to the neglect of someone [no matter their age] who doesn’t understand that you’re trying to illustrate a life lesson. Excuse my opinion.)
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, Zechariah 4:10a (NLT)
This does not just apply to those things which look like the place where we want to end up eventually. The small beginnings of our “ministry” or our “dreams” or whatever you want to call it.
It applies much earlier than that.
Stewarding the small things applies to the smallest parts of all the things we do and have. It applies to every responsibility we have, every choice before us, every relationship, every cent.
The relationships we have with our children, our parents, our house chores, stewarding our rest and recreation, the money that we receive at the end of every week/fortnight/month. Stewardship begins with the words that come out of our mouths.
We also have a responsibility to steward our relationship with God.
Stewardship is something that is never too late to begin, and is incredibly important to the Heart of God.
When humanity was created, Gods’ instruction to us was to steward creation.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28 (NIV)
Many of Jesus parables focussed on the importance of stewardship. The parable of the ten waiting for the bridegroom with their lamps, the servants in the vineyard, the servant waiting for the master’s return, the lost coin, the lost sheep.
Some of these illustrate His nature towards us, however, when has God ever illustrated His heart for us through Jesus without asking us to follow His example?
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23 (NIV)
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Mark 13:34 (NIV)
Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ Matthew 18:33 (NIV)
What is it that He has called you to? Do you realise the task He has called you to has already begun? Even if it doesn’t look the way we think it should yet, everything we do during our day today is proving or disproving whether we are ready to manage the task we are called to.
Can we live from the power of rest?
Can we control our tongue and our thoughts?
Can we release our need to control situations, circumstances and people?
Can we live from both responsibility and risk- following Fathers lead- financially, living from a place of spiritual abundance, not from the spirit of poverty?
Can we live from the foundations of honour, heavenly morality, grace, joy and peace?
Can we live with short accounts with God and others, knowing who we are in Him and accepting discipline from His hand?
Are we prepared for God to be more than the pictures that we have been fed, and to continually break out of our preconceived notions of Who He Is?
This is what stewardship is about. Working with God through many small practices every day, to come to the place where suddenly we realise we have been overtaken by our destiny in the middle of the ordinary place of our life.
‘Suddenlies’ happen to people who are prepared.
Stewardship is about determining that the smallest, most inconsequential things that we must do every day are in fact the most important things we will ever do in our entire life.
God Bless You Very Much