"To whom much is given much is required"- Luke 12:48
"With great power comes great responsibility"- Spiderman
"Shake what yo mama gave you."-Anonymous
I've had some strange feelings at work inside me. I've felt that something has been going on in my life below the surface. I see God revealing to me all of my insufficiency and pointing me towards his path.The words that keep looping in my heart's playlist are Stewardship, Thanks & Eternity. For some reason my spiritual compass tends to keep pointing me in the direction of these three words, so lets talk about them.
When I think of Stewardship, I'm looking at it on a macro level. For example, in a game of cards everyone is dealt a hand to play, but they also have choices to make that impact how the game plays out. In life we all start at different places- some privileged, some poor, and each with different capabilities and giftings. I cannot overemphasize this enough-everyone has natural giftings and abilities within in them, not some people.
So when it all comes down to it, stewardship is about accountability. When I was a server at the end of the day I would have to settle my cash and receipts(account) with a print out that determined how much I had to pay out the restaurant or how much the restaurant had to pay me. I also forsee the judgement being very similar the parable of the talents because we will all give account for what we what we have been given and what we have done with it.However, as John Bevere points out in Driven By Eternity, the Judgement will actually focus more on what we have not done.
That's why I think it is of very important to live with intentionality and passion. I struggle with this task because it's often easier for me to put life on course control and just coast without raising the bar or pressing myself to be more and to do more. Plus, it's harder to walk against the grain and so much easier be average, instead of phenomenal. It's so much easier to to do the wrong things than it is to do the right things. So I have to stay focused on the goal- live full life and die empty. I can only accomplish this by pouring every drop out before my time here is done.
Recently, I've been overwhelming filled with thanks and gratitude. Looking at my life I am truly grateful for the opportunities that I have been given and the great people that I seem to stumble upon at every juncture of my life. Besides, being generally appreciative, I've also observed the tremendous rewards linked to a life of thanks. An attitude of thanks is an attitude of positive expectation, that looks for the best in people and the best in each situation. In contrast, a mindset of unthankfulness produces a narrow outlook that often overlooks the potential blessings that lie ahead and also is too narrow to see the blessings that surround them.
*Illustration: My roommate recently bought a new wide-eye angle lens. When I was looking at some of his pictures from Hong Kong, I was struck by the difference between his new wide angle lens and his normal lens. The wide angle seems to capture landscapes and objects with so much more fullness than his normal lens did. I feel like I'm looking at the 'bigger picture.' That is analogous to what a life of thanksgiving is all about-seeing the bigger picture.
When I really think about it, everything I can complain about there is something praiseworthy within it. If my friends pissed me off, thank God I have friends. If gas is high, think God I have a job to pay for gas. Notwithstanding, there are some incredibly painful and confusing situations that make it damn near impossible to give thanks, but yet in still I have to remember that God is still God and give thanks just be alive.
Moreover, I have come to grips with the fact that I am tremendously BLESSED! Just to let you know I'm not just blessed, "I'M RICH!" Okay.....may not in the way Dave Chapelle is rich*, but compared to most people in the world I am rich. I began to take note of this in my undergraduate studies when I began to look at GDP and GNP of countries throughout the world. In addition to the textbook stuff, I've also had the opportunity to hear from missionaries about there experiences in poverty stricken areas of the world. But recently while watching a podcast, the realization of my wealth came into focus. During Mark Driscoll's message called "Stewardship: God Gives" one of his central points was that the rich have a responsibility to the poor. After making that statement, Driscoll back peddled and said,
"In saying that, none of thinks you rich, rich is always the persons a little better than you....it's always the other guy....by rich, I mean American."
His point was that compared to the rest of the world the average America doesn't have the same concerns as the majority of the world, which is poor (this does not negate the fact that America does have it's own 3rd world communities). "Poverty and riches are really illusionary if you compare yourself to television." So in one hand I am blessed and thankful to know that I am rich*, but I also have an responsibility to help those less fortunate. Bringing me right back to the topic of stewardship.
I struggle to think in terms of eternity because I am trapped in time and space. Eternity is pretty daunting thought. I was shook by the Adam Sandler's Click, because it's illustrates how the decisions we make now effect our lives forever. When I think in terms of eternity I am forced to realize that life is but a series of decisions and in the end we can only hope that we have lived with purpose and intentionality.