Some words need to be dusted off. One such word, stewardship, let time layer it with a thick layer of misunderstanding.
One day, stewardship walked into church and sat on a pew. Misunderstanding the meaning, someone decided its nickname was “giving.” Since that time, those with religious backgrounds see a contribution plate pass by every time they hear the word.
Give me a moment to bring it back to the light of everyday life.
In December, my father died suddenly. He had taken care of all the preparations, including a living trust and a will. He owned a house, some annuities and stocks, and a lifetime of possessions.
In the will, he named both my brother and me as “executors.” An executor “executes” the instructions of the will, dispensing of the assets as set forth in the document. Since my brother was out of town, I took on the task of the day-to-day affairs. The house still needed utilities paid, grass mowed, and problems fixed. Monetary assets had to be distributed.
It was in this 8 month process I went back and reclaimed the church word for the everyday. I realized the true meaning of stewardship. All of his goods had been left to his sons. It was our task to be his stewards. So, a simple recurring question best fleshed out stewardship.
“How would my father wanted it done?”
I handled the money as I believe he would have. I took care of the house in the same manner he had. When the house was sold, I used the same integrity standards he would have used.
All of life is a stewardship and all of us are stewards of a trust given to use. There are no self-made men. Someone gave us life. Someone provided opportunities. Over all, God was opening doors. Whether education, status, or monetary means, we are the recipient of someone who has given it to us to use. One day, a somber group will assemble to listen to words and then grass will grow over our bodies. On that day, the ones who invested in our lives will wonder, “Did he do as I wanted him to do with the gifts given?”
My hope is I satisfied my father’s wishes. Will you satisfy your Father’s wishes on this earth?