“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them." Matthew 25:14-19
I want to encourage you to go read the rest of that passage in the Bible. Verses 20-30 tell about how the master responded to the different servants and how they took good care of their money- or didn't take good care.
Something I've been thinking of lately is how we take care of the "things" in our possession, and how as a whole, we've become a society of, well, disposers really. In our history travels with the kids, in the last few weeks we've been reading about the early 1900's, and how the people who lived back then truly had to make do with what they had. What they did have, they probably made or built themselves. And on top of that, no matter how poor of a quality the item was, they took incredibly good care of it. A winter coat, for example, was taken very good care of by its wearer, and then when that person outgrew it, it was passed on to the next child in the family. And if it was too big for the next child, it was either put away until it did fit, OR it was very,very carefully taken apart, re-sized, and sewn back together to fit the new owner. Even things as simple and basic as a coffee cup, or a set of silverware was treated with great care. People were just better stewards of what they had back then.
Now, we have the ability to go to the nearest super center and get new things anytime we want. It seems we place little value in what we have. I don't want to think of this in the wrong way, we certainly shouldn't reverence our possessions, and we shouldn't become obsessive about making sure things stay in perfect and pristine shape, but we can be more conscious of how we do take care of what we have. And we can also be more conscious of the value of an item.
I think that part of living a Christian life should include being better stewards of what we have in our possession. We're so quick to discard an item before looking closely to see if it could be repaired or even re purposed- used in a completely different way. Not too long ago Zander and I read about a woman who had a pair of red velvet curtains that were very special to her, because in those days velvet was very expensive, and they were a special gift from her husband for their wedding. When they moved, they couldn't use the curtains, because they didn't fit in their new home. Rather than just discarding those curtains, she used one of the curtains to make a cushion for a bench, and the other curtain she turned into a coat and hat for their young daughter.
Honestly, it makes me a little angry with myself to think about this, because even something as simple as a bed sheet that has lost its mate could be re purposed to make something useful for the home- even if it is just torn up into rags. And how many things like that have I thrown out over the years? To me, when I think about that, I'm simply not being a good steward. Money was spent on those items, and when we simply discard them, thinking that we'll buy a new one, we're just throwing money in the garbage. We need to retrain our thinking to be better stewards of everything- not just the big expensive items in our care.
I'm also not saying that we should hang on to every single thing we have and become hoarders either. If we have something that we truly cannot use anymore, we should most definitely pass it on to someone else who could use it. We have become very conscious ourselves of hanging on to stuff "just because" or because you never know when you might need something. But those things don't go into the garbage bag, they go to a thrift store or to someone else who could use them. That's part of being a good steward too, sharing with those who are in need.
When we really think about this, think about moving away from excessive consumerism, we're being good stewards on more than one level. We're being a good steward of our finances, because we're taking better care of the things that we've spent money on. We're also being a good steward of the earth and the planet around us, because we're keeping garbage out of the landfills and we're learning to consume less. I think these are good thoughts, and I hope that God continues to bring it to my mind. The next time that I'm inclined to just toss something, I hope that I'll give that a second thought and really think about whether or not that thing should be discarded. I want to be a good steward in every area of my life, so that someday, when The Master returns, He says "Well done" to me.
"His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’" Matthew 25:21