Ninth Sunday After Trinity Luke 12:42-48
The faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household.
We Christians are God's stewards. The New Testament talks about stewards. They were more common then, than they are today. Many were slaves. They could be highly regarded and could be trusted with important duties. They belonged to their master, however, and didn't own anything.
That's exactly what we are. We often speak of our possessions. Even a Christian can talk about my life, my time, my money, my car. He very well knows, or should know, that he belongs to God and all that passes through his hands is God's.
A Christian is a steward and not a tenant. A tenant pays the agreed upon rent. After that, he has the right to keep what he earns from the property. There are those who think their relationship to God is something similar. They give God a reasonable share of income, maybe they even tithe. After that, they can do as they please with the rest. Even the rest, however, belongs to God. We're merely here to manage it. Even when we give something, for example in the offering, we have to say as David said when he came with generous gifts to the temple: "For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You" (1 Chronicles 29:14).
It's easy for us to imagine the division of labor as something like this: God works through His Church. Giving to missionary work and other church activities is "giving to God's work." We'll take care of worldly problems ourselves. On the one hand, it's true that God's will is primarily focused on our being saved from eternal damnation and the Church is His tool in doing that. On the other hand, God is also the Creator whose creation is kept in authority. Here He has incorporated us in His work, in production and management, in the home, in care of the sick, and in teaching. We're all stewards. We're taking care of God's property.
That doesn't mean we can't use it for our own sake. When people have understood that they're God's stewards, they sometimes have a guilty conscience as soon as they allow themselves the good things in life. It's God, however, who allows His children to indulge in the good things in life. When we're given something to take care of God also gives the steward His share of these good gifts. The steward realizes, however, that he's accountable for everything to his master.
Here is the big difference between a worldly steward and a Christian. Both have to be faithful and sensible. Faithful, so they stick to their Master's orders, and sensible, so they can act in His stead when confronted with a new situation. We Christians have the great privilege of being with our Lord every day. In a sense, He's invisible, far away, sitting at the right hand of His Father, and we are like servants waiting for our master's return. At the same time, He's with us, present in His Word and Sacraments, like our best friend, to whom we can go to with our questions and troubles.
Dear Lord, make an invisible mark on everything that passes through my hands so I know it's Yours. Everything I have comes from You. The only reason I have it is because You've commissioned me to manage it. Everything I call my own, even my life and my body, are things You have entrusted to me. I belong to You, I'm in Your hands, and I thank You for that. Because of that there's meaning in my life, every new day, at work and at home, with my family and friends. Day after day walk on Your ground, it belongs to You, and You want me to work with it and find Joy in it. I thank You that everything is in Your hands. Amen.