Stewards of God's Love
One of my favorite passages from the scriptures is a From Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:1: "Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries."
Love as the greatest gift is a strong theme in 1 Corinthians, so I don't think I would be stretching things too much if I called us stewards of God's love.
It was not an entirely new concept for Paul, or even for Jesus. When Jesus said that to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor were the greatest commandments, it was not a new commandment. It is called "the Shema." It was the heart of the Torah that Jesus was quoting. And the new commandment that Jesus gave us was to love one another as he has loved us.
Jesus was God's love incarnate. When we share love with each other we are sharing Jesus. When we share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus, we are sharing God's love.
This precious gift is like a fine instrument. I am told by people who know a lot more than I do about music that a fine violin must be played. The more it is played the sweeter its sound and the more valuable it becomes. I believe that is true about the greatest gift we are given.
The other gifts that we steward, our time and our possessions, may be finite and we might have to count them out to make sure that they are used rightly. But the Love of God is infinite and the more it is shared the stronger our knowledge of it becomes.
In fact, we share all of our other gifts in order to further the sharing of that most precious gift, the love of God in Christ Jesus. If we give to the church, we give so that it can further its mission of sharing God's saving love. If we give to the poor or to other charities, we give so that people's well-being may be restored and with it their hope and the knowledge of God's love.
When our lives are grounded in that understanding it becomes easier to formulate a whole stewardship strategy for our lives. It becomes easier to decide on a direction for our lives and for our giving. It may not make the specific choices easier, for there are so many good causes and so many hurting people out there whose lives would be transformed by the knowledge of God's love. And we still always need to balance our work in the world with our care for our families, those whom God has given us to love most directly. Knowing that this is our primary mission in life does not give us all the answers about how to spend our money and our time, but it does give us the right questions to ask concerning them.
Lord, All that we do, we do knowing that we love because you first loved us. Help us to use all that you have given us to love better. knowing that there is an inexhaustible supply coming from you. Amen
Copyright © 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran
Church, Warwick, RI. A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry
after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care. She
graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served
4 ½ years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander. She is
still trying to understand the accent. While in the Upstate New York Synod
she chaired the Stewardship Team. That began her fascination with what
makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing
daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from