There’s a theme throughout Scripture of God entrusting his people with responsibility. We first see it in the Garden and watch it extend to the patriarchs, through the exodus, to the judges, kings, prophets, the nation of Israel, apostles, and now ultimately on to us, the church.
God’s desire from the get-go has been for partnership – loving relationship with him resulting in us working through and for him.
Unfortunately, humanity doesn’t have a great track record in this area. We blew it from the beginning and have been blowing it ever since – making excuses, refusing to accept responsibility, lying, blaming, hiding (See Genesis 2-3).
In fact, I’d argue that all of these maneuvers are actually “first sin” behaviors. They were part of our original fall, and are now a part of our daily lives. We all carry the sin DNA of our ancestors and know what it is to echo their disobedience.
Here’s what I’m learning about responsibility and stewardship:
We’ll never steward anything well unless we accept responsibility for it.
It’s like a parent telling their child, “From now on, you’re responsible for taking out the trash.” Little Jonny may not like that particular chore. He might want to play instead. He may try to pass it off on his brother or sister, or pretend he forgot. But whatever the excuse, come trash day, mom and dad are looking at him to see if he got the job done or not.
Judgment day is going to be a bit like that. We’ll each stand before God, and he’ll ask us to give an account of what we did with the time, talent, money, tasks, resources, relationships, environment, etc. he entrusted to us.
We may claim we didn’t know, didn’t have time, didn’t have the energy, didn’t have the proper upbringing. Perhaps it was someone else’s fault.
Or we might say, “Yes, you gave me this responsibility and here’s what I’ve done with it.”
The irony is that whether we ever accept responsibility or not, we’re still accountable for stewarding what’s been as given to us. Dad doesn’t say, “Well Jonny, since you didn’t officially agree to take out the trash, you’re off the hook.” Nope. That’s not how it works, and we all know it.
So the choice really boils down to this: either we accept responsibility and work towards being good stewards, or we deny responsibility and end up being bad stewards. Either way, we’re still responsible.
What are you doing with the time, energy, money, abilities, mind, body, opportunities, relationships, and world God’s entrusted to your care? Have you accepted responsibility in each of these areas or denied it? If you haven’t responded to the Spirit’s nudging in your life and begun the journey of following Jesus, that’s definitely the starting point.
Some good news: in our story, God doesn’t just assign us the task and then sit back and wait for us to fail. No – he helps us bag the garbage, shows us where it goes, reminds us when to take it out, and then carries it with us. Because stewardship is about partnership, and we serve a good Father who loves us, empowers us, and goes with us.