Looking Out for Others

The one principle that surrounds everything else is that of stewardship; that we are the managers of everything that God has given us.
– Larry Burkett

Yesterday I was sitting on the deck enjoying some coffee, the paper and a November Saturday morning.  Less than twenty-four hours earlier, I had given the invocation at a luncheon honoring our Berks County veterans.  Almost 700 people gathered to recognize our veterans and hear a powerful message shared by Fox commentator and former National Guard Officer Pete Hegseth.  Those familiar with our speaker probably expected to hear his take on the recent elections and the state of the nation.  They were disappointed, as Hegseth’s message could be summed up in one word; stewardship!  As the former executive director of political advocacy groups, Vets For Freedom and Concerned Veterans for America, he shared his thoughts regarding our collective responsibility to take care of our veterans, to assure that their needs are never overlooked.  To be stewards for those who at one time watched over us.

What does the word, “Stewardship” mean to you?  The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.”  Up until Friday, the term had but one meaning to me; generating the revenue that will serve to help fund our church’s 2023 budget.  In the Episcopal Church stewardship is about being grateful responsible stewards of the gifts we receive from God. At the same time, stewardship is also about contributing time and talents and volunteering for ministry and mission. It’s about reaching out to build relationships from a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity.  In other words it comes down to mindset; shifting from the belief that there are limited opportunities, options, and resources to one of  abundance, telling you that there are enough resources and successes for all to share. Think about those last words, “there are enough resources and successes for all to share.”

We are all stewards in one way or another. While some may actually hold a position in which stewardship is implied, others live a life of stewardship. In either case there are shared characteristics.  Good stewards:

  • Are servant leaders. They have no desire for power. They do not need to be in charge or exert control over others. They are responsible and accountable without any prompting or prodding.
  • Embrace sustainability. They recognize that their actions are building value for others, be it their customers, members, shareholders or future generations.
  • Are inclusive. They welcome all. No one is turned away.
  • Embrace innovation and change. They welcome new ideas and fresh perspectives, however values remain constant.
  • Are team players.  They are humble.  It is never about them or their glory.  It is about the organization and others.
  • Are transparent and value communication. They gladly seek advice and feedback from their stakeholders.
  • Always acknowledge and thank God for giving them the gifts of abundance they now share with others.

Did you ever wonder what your purpose is or why you are here?  Perhaps the best way to discover it is through serving with intention. Good stewardship not only serves others, but can lead to benefits in all areas of your life. Good Stewardship helps those around you, lets you discover your abundances and strengthens your relationship with God.  Sounds like a win, win, win proposition to me.

Embrace the Challenge