Be a Steward not an Owner

What if you treated all things as if they were not your own?

I mean everything.

Your money. Your car. Your children. Your spouse. Your job. Your health.

What if none of these things were yours, yet you were charged with making sure they were all taken care of and protected and used wisely?

Let’s make this more complicated. What if you owned all of those things, but you hired someone else to take care of them on your behalf?

Would you be pleased if that person made no changes and kept doing what you’ve been doing all this time?

Let’s modernize this idea: If you were hired as a consultant to review and make recommendations on your own stewardship of your finances, family, and health, would the report be short or long?

Or would you recommend that someone else handle his or her family, health, finances, work, or spiritual life the way you’ve handled yours?

Being a Steward vs. Being an Owner

It’s a biblical principle, I believe. If you’re a Christian, then the Bible clearly says that you are not your own. You were bought with a price. Consequently, everything that we assume is ‘ours’ is God’s.

We do not own or possess our families or finances or even our time. It is God’s.

Do we like how we steward these items on behalf of God? Are we treating our spouses and children as ‘precious in His sight’? Do we spend our time on the things that we know are dear to God’s heart? Our money? Our health?

Or if you are not a person of faith but have a generally hopeful view and want to be a positive force in the world, consider your relationships, finances, and time as potential world-changing possibilities.

Are you treating your children as if they can possibly do awesome things in the future? Are you spending your time in a way that dovetails with the values you hope to see grow in your community?

Deciding to Be a Steward is NOT a Mind Trick

Being an owner is an illusion. When we die, nothing physically follows along with us unless we’re weird and want to be buried with a favorite sweatshirt or something.

No matter who we are and what we believe, in the end, we are only stewards. The money, the relationships, the stuff, the work… it all stays behind. Someone else takes over the money. Someone else sits in your desk at your job. Your family moves on.

We only leave a legacy of how we stewarded all of those things.

It’s a sobering thought. I almost don’t like writing it because of the accountability that writing these things puts on me.

But it’s a great decision-making filter: I’m a steward. I do not own this thing (or person or my time, etc.). How should I treat it as if it’s not mine?

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