photo courtesy of Amanda Goolsby

Count your blessings; spend them out. This is stewardship at its best.

If you want to be a good steward, start in the stock room. Stewardship requires an honest and careful accounting of inventory. Those resources must then be weighed against past, present, and future expenses. Thus, boundary lines are drawn and limits are acknowledged. But once your obligations are met–your bills are paid, plans drawn, investments made–you are free to spend of save as you choose. You are also free to give.

When you are aware of your bottom line, you free up everything that sits above it. Stewardship enables the best kind of charity: giving which is not reckless or reluctant or motivated by guilt, but the kind that flows freely from an open, grateful palm.

The discipline of stewardship requires an awareness of value. You must be aware not only of what you have, but also how far it can stretch. A good steward is not careless with his money, his time, his resources, or his commitments, because he knows the value of a dollar, the length of a day, his debt to nature, the weight of honor, and the primacy of love. But neither is he miserly. Stewardship is active, tending to the cares of today with a slight nod to the future.

Even the best laid plans, however, cannot protect us entirely from life’s ups and downs. We will receive unexpected gifts. Emergencies will wipe out our careful savings. We will be moved by the needs of others and adjust our priorities. We will face delays. Receive second chances. Stewardship is not a formula; it’s a discipline that gives us the skills necessary to adjust and rebuild.

This careful accounting inspires confidence and fosters gratitude. Steward what you have. After all, you can’t take it with you.


More on the Value of Stewardship…

Hipsters on Food Stamps by Jennifer Bleyer

They’re young, they’re broke, and they pay for organic salmon with government subsidies. Got a problem with that?

Read the full article and a thoughtful response from Brett McCracken.

The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship

The past millennium brought unprecedented improvements in human health, nutrition, and life expectancy, especially among those most blessed by political and economic liberty and advances in science and technology. At the dawn of a new millennium, the opportunity exists to build on these advances and to extend them to more of the earth’s people.

At the same time, many are concerned that liberty, science, and technology are more a threat to the environment than a blessing to humanity and nature. Out of shared reverence for God and His creation and love for our neighbors, we Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, speaking for ourselves and not officially on behalf of our respective communities, joined by others of good will, and committed to justice and compassion, unite in this declaration of our common concerns, beliefs, and aspirations.

Read the full declaration

  • Just Thoughts

    The path he chose was a path going in the opposite direction of many his age, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously on it, he was convinced and convicted of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul, and at once he instinctively said to himself: 'I want to live for immortality with Him and I will accept no compromise.' -Dostoevsky, Brothers K