Stewardship Notes for July 2018

In our monthly articles, we have tried to emphasize different aspects of a Stewardship lifestyle. We hope that you have come to appreciate the depth and breadth of Stewardship and to recognize that this subject includes our whole lives.   We said previously that a steward is someone who manages another person’s property, finances, or affairs.  This month, we want to remind us all that we are stewards of ourselvesour bodies, our minds, and our spirits.  Now, you might be thinking that, if there is anything that truly and exclusively belongs to ourselves, and not to anyone else, it is our very selves!  Right?  Absolutely not!  Let us explore what the Holy Bible says.

Quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38 NRSV]   He wasn’t suggesting that we should do a particular listing of good deeds for God.  No, he was saying that we are to offer God the very best of ourselves. #St. Paul wrote, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.”  [1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a ESV]   Our Stewardship involves everything that God has entrusted to us, and that includes taking care of ourselves. #  And St. Paul also said, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”[1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NRSV] #Now, when we think about self-care, we may feel that topic to be selfish and unproductive.  But that is human thinking. The fact is that caring for oneself is biblical. So, how do we do it?

“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  {Romans 12:1-2 NRSV]  We start by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. #“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  [Colossians 3:12 NRSV]   We intentionally “put on” those attributes. #“For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the Church because we are members of his body.”  [Ephesians 5:29-30 NRSV]  We need proper nourishment and tender self-caring. # “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things.”[Philippians 4:8 NRSV]   Focus on positive thoughts, and shun trashy ideas. #  “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.”  [3 John 1:2 NRSV]  Take care of your health – eat healthy foods, exercise sensibly, get more sleep, and seek medical help regularly. #  “So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.” [Hebrews 4:9-11 NRSV] “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ “[Mark 6:30a NRSV]  Get enough rest.  Be serious about Sabbath-keeping.  Cultivate your spiritual health. # 

For more about being stewards of ourselves, come to our Community Connections cluster on July 22.