If I were to give this year a word for a motto and my expectations for it a name, this years would be unquestionably and without hesitation....
I have been thinking a lot about stewardship these days, the good and the bad.
Perhaps it is because I look around at this new-to-us old, neglected fixer upper we just made our Home~ I see a barn littered with years of once-good-stuff turned into garbage-heaps that we are going to need to clean up; of wrinkled Encyclopedias, kitchen chairs, shoes, tools, egg cartons, lights. I see a barn that is in such disrepair I pray it doesn't fall down before we can safely pull it down. Much of this year is going to be cleaning up after another persons poor stewardship. It is easy for a soul to be pricked under these circumstances.
Maybe it is because I am flipping pages in catalogs and books and my mind as I plan, prepare and dream a new garden into reality and I think 'bigger! Bigger! BIGGER!' and then remember those summer squash I had to compost because they went bad before I could get to them~ the cucumbers that got "puky" or the pumpkins I MEANT to puree that ended up as chicken feed. It is shameful.
Whatever the reason, it just seems to be pressing on my heart. Really, stewardship is the kind of thing that you begin thinking about in droplet sized bits and then turn to find the whole bucket is full to the brim.
Stewardship is universal~ Good stewardship is required of each and every one of us, whether we are given little or much~ we are all called to it, without exception.
And it isn't just about money.
It IS about money. But is it also about time. It is also about that garden that needs weeding, the animals that need to be cared for, our widening bodies that need exercise, the fridge and pantry that need to well stocked, the dinner plates that need filled three times a day, the barn that needs painting, the rose bush that needs pruning, the children that need raising, the mind that needs sharpening, that living room that needs tidying, those dishes that need washing, the shelves that need dusting, the games that need playing, the yard that needs mowing...
Stewardship is about proclaiming Gods goodness by caring for His gifts.... and each of us, from the least to the greatest, are called to do it well.
If we don't do it well we are not only wasteful with His grace, but unthankful for those responsibilities and blessings that God has given us. Worse yet, we disgrace His name by smudging the character of God with our filth. After all, we are to reflect His attributes and I am pretty sure His attributes do not include crusty, dilapidated, filthy or uncared for.
Does a child with torn up clothes and a dirty face at the grocery store get your heart all a'flutter? Does garbage blowing across a yard make you long for a Home place? Does a stinky, nasty bathroom provide comfort?
A dirty, disgusting barn or a cluttered, messy home doesn't declare God's glory anymore than a dinner of SPAM and tatertots does.
He has made us~ His people, RICH (even us poor ones) and we ought to be showing people just how rich we are.
To show off?
YES! To SHOW OFF!
To show off the ABUNDANCE of GOD.
In doing so, we are revealing Gods character to innocent passers-by.
But to do this properly, we must have something WORTHWHILE to show. It isn't some gnostic ideal that draws people to God. It isn't even some spiritual place that a person sees and wants for himself. Maybe it is at times, but sometimes it is even more simple than that.
Sometimes it is in those paint- flecked hands painting the window panes.
Sometimes it is in that row of lilies you planted along the lane.
Sometimes it is in the wearing the pretty dress instead of the fleece pullover and jeans.
Sometimes it is on the plate of delicious food with that pretty little garnish on the side.
Oftentimes it is the outworking of our fingertips that reveal Gods character to those who need to see.
Might my fingertips be plenty busy this coming year.