By Robert Drange
When the word "stewardship" is used in the Lutheran church, money
immediately comes to mind. Money is one of the many things over which we
have stewardship, but by far not the only one.
Stewardship is the management and care of all that God has placed in
the care of human beings. Who is a steward? Janet Morley, who is the vice
president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, says that every
human being on this earth is a steward because all of us, good or bad,
have been entrusted by God with many gifts. As the Bible says, 'The rain
falls on the just and the unjust." Some of us are good stewards and some
of us are bad stewards.
I have often wondered why good Christians have such a hangup when it
comes to "stewardship". After pondering this for a considerable period of
time, I think that I have discovered the answer.
It is hard to believe that the root cause for poor stewardship is a
simple little two letter word. It is a word that we learn early in life,
long before we learn that we have and are responsible for all of the gifts
God has entrusted into our care. Babies often use this word by the time
they are barely one year old. From that point on, it guides most of us for
our entire life.
What is this evil and malicious word? It is the simple word "my", that
is, belonging to me. Infants grab something and pull it away from someone
saying, "my" or "mine".
From then on, our language is littered with "my house", "my car", "my
money", "my wife", "my time" and hundreds of other possessives attributing
all of these things to me. Oh, I know that most of these things have been
earned by my labor or effort, but what I forget is the simple fact that I
really own nothing.
It is not mine, but God's, and put there by Him on loan for my use and
Once a Christian comes to this belief, then stewardship takes on its
real meaning. Stewardship is the management and care of all that God
entrusted to us for our use, as recorded in the book of Genesis. This lack
of ownership is something we finally recognize as we pass the last minutes
of our life on this earth. Then, everything that is "mine" will soon
belong to someone else.
Evangelist Billy Graham has said that he never saw a Brink's truck
follow a hearse to the cemetery. As a Christian steward, each of us has
the opportunity to distribute God's many gifts, to ourselves for our
personal use, and to others for the furtherance of God's kingdom here on
If this is "my" choice, and I use it wisely, then maybe "my" can be
changed from a selfish word to a good word after all.
The late Robert O. Drange was a member of Lutheran
Laity Movement for 41 years and served on its board of directors.