Today's Prompt: Stewardship**
Wikipedia describes stewardship as an ethical value that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The word originally referred to the household servant's duties in a castle. Stewardship is now generally recognized as the acceptance or assignment of responsibility to shepherd and safeguard the valuables of others.
Hebrews 2:10 says everything we have belongs to God. He has entrusted us with gifts and talents that we are responsible for. A shepherd leads, feeds, and helps his sheep grow and stay healthy. He also guards them against predators and keeps them on the right path.
In the same way, we shepherd our gifts and talents by developing and growing them. We also safeguard them, protecting them until they are needed.
A Parable of Stewardship
Luke 19:11-27 and Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the Parable of the Minas. In this story, a man places his talents into the hands of three stewards while he goes on a long journey. Upon his return, he called each man to account for how they were handled. The two who used the talents they were given were awarded more, while the one who buried his lost them.
The talents in this story were not just money but the management of what had been entrusted to stewards. You were created with many gifts and talents, more than you can use during your life here on earth. As you travel through life, you discover and identify them as needed.
In school, I painted, took music lessons, and practiced sewing and cooking in 4-H. I was told that I had talent in each of those areas. As a young mother, I stopped practicing painting for more child-related art. Although I'm not a painter, I do consider myself an artist. Those painting talents evolved into decorating my home, quilting, and art journaling. My sewing talents grew when I entered the workforce as a fabric store manager. After retirement, I discovered new ones, such as writing, art journaling, and design. A change in circumstances required leaving some talents behind to pursue others. Wise and responsible stewardship allows your gifts to evolve and expand to fit the stage of life you are in.
A criminal offense.
Let's be clear. Using your gifts and talents, or not, does not affect your salvation.. The only qualification for salvation is to call on the name of the Lord and believe in Him.
So you see, whether you use your talents or not is not a salvation issue. It is a stewardship issue. The steward was afraid, so he hid the talents he was given. The Lord called this action wicked and lazy. Another word for wicked here is crimes. He considered the steward not using the talent he was given as a criminal action.
Not using your God-given talents and gifts because of fear is a criminal offense. You don't get the death penalty, but the body of Christ misses out on the blessing they would have received. And you miss out on what God had planned for you.
Use it or lose it?
The steward in this story was afraid to use it because he might lose it. Ironically, he lost it because he didn't use it. The truth is, if you don't use your talent, you lose the skills you need for it.
Once upon a time, I could grab my guitar and play for hours. Now, I'd be lucky to remember a few cords. The talent is still there, but the skills to are not. I don't believe the Lord considers me wicked and lazy because I stopped playing. I didn't stop because of fear; other talents were needed and became a more important use of my time.
My takeaway from this story.
- God considers fearing a criminal offense. When He gives us an assignment, He provides all the gifts and talents we need to complete it successfully. Then He expects us to trust Him and boldly step out in faith. Fear is never a reason to hide the gifts and talents God is calling you to use.
- Stewardship of the gifts and talent we are given is our responsibility. To steward them, we must work with the Holy Spirit. We listen and obey Him when He says to shepherd a talent and do the same when He tells us to safeguard it for another time.
As I said before, we have been given more gifts and talents than we could ever use in this lifetime. We have an eternity to discover and develop them. Who knows what you will uncover once you go to heaven? Even there, we will have the responsibility to steward them wisely.
What gifts and talents are you being asked to shepherd at this time?
**This post is part of the #write28days Challenge, writing and posting EVERY DAY in February