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)