Stewardship is the basis for managing resources available. Stewardship is the basis for making decisions about what to do, how much to invest in the effort, what goals to strive for by the actions taken. I’m getting ready for the first extended vacation of my life. There were lots of options available when I first thought about taking this time off. Stewardship is how I chose to take a motorcycle trip about 5000 miles long.
First, I have to take stock of the gifts given to me. I have an excellent motorcycle. It’s really hard to beat BMW’s engineering and production. Plenty of power to move down the road smoothly, light weight and agile, great ergonomics so extended seat time isn’t excessively fatiguing. Good fuel economy.
I have good data available to guide me on the trip. I have great roads, great maps, GPS, Google Earth, cell phone, etc. etc. Imagine traveling to the western coast of North America back in the early 19th century. No roads, no maps, no previous experience. Guys like Lewis and Clark were amazing. Not just that they made the trips they did, but that they were willing to take the risk to even try.
I’ve been given the time to make this trip. I am so grateful to the leadership of our two congregations for understanding my need to take time off and for their willingness to go along with what I intend to do. I haven’t felt pressure to justify my plans and for that gift I am VERY grateful. Linda has worked very hard to be sure everything will be in order around the parish in my absence. Pastor Kathy has graciously agreed to lead our worship and be available for pastoral emergencies. All these things are gifts given to me which make it possible to take this trip.
Think about how this compares to how we support our congregations throughout the year. God is always more willing to give than we deserve or desire. We are each given many gifts. Money is a tangible gift and easy to quantify. That may be why it is so often the first thing we think about when we think about stewardship. Money is important, but it is not the most important gift we are given. Nothing compares with time. God has given us our very lives. What we do with the time we’ve been given is one of the most important stewardship decisions we make every day. I’ll be making decisions about roads to follow and places to stop. I’ll be thinking about how to spend my time. The trip is a microcosm of life.
As fall approaches, we can expect to hear talk about stewardship. I think you’ll be hearing more from other voices. I hope this short article is a useful addition to your thinking about stewardship. I’ll write more a little farther down the road.