So here you are…opening up another email from me and I bet you’re hoping I won’t waste your time. You want to see something here that encourages, entertains, enlightens, educates, or answers a question burning a hole in your heart and keeping you up at night (although, if you know me personally, I’m certain you’ve set your expectations a bit lower).
There are three things you should know.
One, that’s a lot of pressure.
Two, there is a very good possibility you will be disappointed in some way. If not today, then perhaps the next time.
And three, I try very hard not to waste the time you give me.
I take the honor of stewarding the time you give me very seriously. In fact, stewardship as a whole has been on my mind a great deal lately.
Stewardship is how we take care of something entrusted to our care. We often think in terms of money and finances when we hear the term stewardship applied to our personal lives, but that is just one tiny aspect of all we’ve been given to steward.
I struggle to steward my time well. I often choose what is easy instead of what is necessary. I’m easily distracted. And if truth be told, I can be a bit lazy. I also struggle to steward what I eat and the care of my body for these same reasons.
If there is anything I've become convinced of during the year 2020, it’s that perhaps the two most important things for me to steward are my time and my voice.
My time to do what is right, to serve others, and to do the things that glorify God is not an infinite resource. One day it will run out. One day I will no longer be here to model my faith to my children, teach my grandchildren to pray, take a meal to sick friend, or tell someone about Jesus and what He’s done for me.
One day I will no longer be able to forgive someone who’s hurt me, feed a stranger, visit the prisoner, or love the unlovable. One day I will no longer be able to speak up for those who can’t, overcome the enemy by the word of my testimony, or proclaim the resurrecting power of the blood of the Lamb to someone destined to die without knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are just seven words I long to hear when I enter the presence of God:
“Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Jesus tells us in the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25) of three servants who were entrusted by their master with something of value. Two of them stewarded what they’d been given on behalf of their master and received the praise of ‘well done.’ But one did not. He didn’t lose it or destroy it, but returned it to his master exactly as it had been given to him. “But his lord answered him ‘You wicked and lazy servant…’
Given the two options of what I could hear from my master, I would much rather hear “well done.”
When I view the choices I make on a daily basis, this one thought brings me to my knees. Have I used what God has given me today in a way that I know will lead to the words “well done my good and faithful servant”?
There are two things I have been given that I can’t get back—time and the opportunity to use my voice.
God is sovereign over the length of my life, but He’s given me the freedom to make choices in how I spend that life, which opportunities I embrace and which I allow myself to miss.
I have the opportunity today to write and use this blog for God’s glory. I could also use this time to take a nap, watch tv, or numb my brain with social media. It’s my choice, but I’m pretty sure which one will bring me closer to hearing “well done.”
We have lots of opportunities where the choice seems obvious. But often there are choices we need to make that involve things we don’t realize are actually gifts we need to steward.
I don’t always do it well, but I try to steward my time with care.
I don’t do as well when it comes to my voice. Dare I say there are many Christians who struggle in the same thing?
Maybe that is because we tend to think of the term voice in only one way—sound. But one definition of voice given by Webster’s dictionary is “an instrument or medium of expression.”
I’m using my voice to communicate a message to you right now and you are receiving it without hearing a single sound because I chose to use the instrument of email instead of showing up at your front door in person.
Our lives—the choices we make, where we go, what we do—are mediums of expression. We are speaking to the world around us whether or not we know it.
These choices reflect (or should) our values and beliefs.
When we sign a petition in support of pro-life, we’ve used our voice. But we’ve also used our voice when we don’t sign the petition. When we see a neighbor in need and offer to help or look the other way, we’ve used our voice.
This idea that my voice is something I'm supposed to steward has weighed heavily on me lately as I see Christians pulling back from using their voice, especially when the medium of communication is their vote. Whether they are disgusted, disheartened, or disbelieving (I mean… who doesn’t have trouble wrapping their minds around what is going on in our country right now), they have decided the best way to steward their voice is to fail to exercise their right to vote. It makes me think of the “wicked and lazy servant” as described in Matthew 25.
I don’t believe that everyone who says they won’t vote is trying to be a lazy and wicked servant. I get the frustration and the feeling that there’s just no choice that fully reflects your values. I don’t really want to be any part in the mud fight going on in the political arena right now either. Somehow we’ve allowed the politicians to turn our nation’s capital into a pig sty. If you’ve ever had the experience of walking through a pigpen, you know it’s a stench you don’t soon forget or wash off. The majority of people I know would like to avoid the unpleasantness or both pigsties and politics.
As a Christian, I understand and believe that God is sovereign over all. Daniel 2:21 tells us “He removes kings and raises up kings…”
I also believe that the number of days of my life are already written in the Lamb's Book of Life, but I still gotta eat. By my choices in how I care for my body, I have a hand in determining the quality of the days I’ve been given. Or how about my house? I know Jesus said He goes to prepare a place for me, and that place will be a mansion in heaven. Should I let this house I live in here on earth crumple until it falls apart? Or am I expected to steward my resources in order to keep it in the best shape possible until I move on to eternity?
In the same way, God has given us a voice and we ought to steward it well. We ought to
speak up for the unborn, speak out for the truth, and speak against the evil and demonic influences shredding our families and even our churches to tatters.
This means I steward my time in seeking the truth instead of whatever outrageous meme catches my attention on Facebook. It means I take even more time in prayer to seek God’s guidance if I’m uncertain on any of the issues. And it means that I take my voice into the polls at election time to steward the government He has placed me under.
This opportunity will not come again. Our time matters, our voice matters, our vote matters—because He matters.