One of my favorite characters on TV is Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. He’s the head butler for the Crawley family, an aristocratic family living in and presiding over a fictional estate in the England countryside
He is fiercely loyal.
He is full of conviction.
He is so protective, he makes a modern day helicopter parent look like a stoned hippie.
He’s loyal not only to the family he works for but to a way of life and to his personal code of ethics.
Admittedly, he can be a tad conservative and unreasonable, but for a butler, you’d rather him err on the side of quiet commitment vs. willy-nilly frivolity.
Be a Carson over the the stuff in your care
While it’s tempting for us to want to feel like everything in our area of responsibility is something we ‘own’, it’s much better in the long run to view ourselves as stewards over the thing vs. owners.
Be like Carson, who helps maintain order not only for the current family he helps, but for the future good of those who might come after that family.
Consider what is under your care…
- Your current job.
- Your spouse
- Your children
- Your finances
- Your health – physical, mental, and spiritual health
- Your home and even your vehicle
Think about viewing those things not as ‘yours’, but as items placed under your care.
Why, you ask?
Assuming you have a loyal heart like Carson, it will help prevent the temptation of saying, “This thing is mine, I’ll do whatever I want to with it.”
Stewards (good ones) have to pause and consider the consequences for the owner regarding all of their decisions relating to the owner’s stuff.
If I consider my children to be God’s, first, then it begs the question: “What is the best way to treat them so that God is honored in them and they eventually grow to serve and love Him?”
If my wife is God’s, then: “How should I treat her in keeping with how Christ loves the church?” (see also Ephesians 5:25.
If my job is not my own, then: “How can I engage my position knowing that someone will come after me who will depend on how I executed my work?”
Developing the Mindset of Carson…
So, be a butler. Treat things under your care as you would want someone else to treat your things. You’d want them to be better with your stuff than you are, I’m sure of it.
Every decision, consider what the loyal, protective, ethically committed choice might be – even if it feels overly conservative and uptight. You don’t want to be willy-nilly with things that aren’t yours. You don’t want to have a devil-may-care attitude.
For that matter, Carson treated everything as precious. Do that. Every person. Every responsibility we have and commitment we make. Each thing is precious.
Treat it with the care of an old, committed, protective, loving butler.
He owns nearly nothing, but he takes care of more value with a deeper concern than even those who own the stuff.
Recommended Reading:Ask It: The Question That Will Revolutionize How You Make Decisions by Andy Stanley. This book isn’t directly about ‘stewardship’, but it is about a question that, if asked, should be very helpful in developing the mindset of a steward.