I used to buff the floors at the Base Exchange for an evening job. It was my job to keep everything polished and shined throughout the store. I was granted use of the buffer, industrial vacuum cleaners, wax, and a number of other supplies. None of those things were mine. They were granted to me to do my part in the larger mission of that store. I was not free to use any of it on myself. I was not free to take any of it home.
This is how it is with us as Christians. In 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul said to count him as a steward of the mysteries of God. A steward was a household manager, often a slave. Nothing he managed was his own. The image of steward fits well with the Kingdom motif in scripture. Jesus is the King, which means we belong to him. Nothing we have is our own. He grants everything to us to use to carry out his mission in the Kingdom.
Our culture's concept of "ownership" stands in direct conflict to the stewardship concept. Our culture tells us that we work, earn and they can purchase what we own. We say it is "My house," or it is "My Car," or it is "My paycheck," or "My clothes," and the list goes on. When we think if something as our own, we often want to protect it. We do not want outsiders to mess with it. We can be particular about it. I earned it, therefore it is mine.
However, our King tells us that it all belongs to him, our possessions, our labor, the fruit of our labor, everything. That means it is his house, his car, his paycheck, his clothes, and the list goes on. He allows us to have it as stewards. In other words, they are resources for His mission.
That should change our perspective on all we have. This includes our church building. It is not "our" building that we worked hard for and therefore own. It is nothing something we protect as a guardian. It is a resources we use as a steward. We use it for the missional purpose of connecting with people. That is why we let people from the community use our building. That is why we periodically host events that are geared toward those on the outside. This includes our vehicles and homes. We sometimes loan them to people when they need it. We extend hospitality toward people. This includes our finances. That is why we will help someone in need. That is why we sometimes will take food to someone.
We are to see all of our resources in a Christ centered way for the purpose of learning Christ, for caring and sharing. Everything we have been granted is there for a missional purpose. We are not called to be protectors and guardians who bury our resources in the ground. We are called to be stewards and take risks with things that we don't own anyway. We are called to use them so that they will produce fruit.
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