When I was a teenager, CD’s were the media containment method of choice. Because I lacked gainful employment, when I decided that I was in need of a new one, I mostly had to rely on my parents to take pity on my moochin’ behind. Eventually, they’d give me a couple bucks and I would rush to the Christian bookstore (because I was a good Christian, dammit) and pick up my prize.
The thing was, I mostly listened to said CD’s when I was trying to go to sleep… That is to say, when I was relatively glued to my bed and it was pitch black. This meant that if I wanted to swap CD’s, I would ever-so-gently toss it to the floor and feel around for a new one. Not the most efficient of systems, but it seemed to work.
From time to time my dad would pop his head into my bedroom and note that my floor was being slowly digested by what appeared to be an ever-growing compact disc monster. Apparently, CD’s weren’t meant to be stored in incorporeal monster form, and they would get scratched and broken.
Shockingly, it became increasingly difficult to convince my parents to divest their hard earned cash into my hot little hand. What I didn’t understand at the time, was that mom and dad had given me something, and despite the fact that the CD’s were mine, I think they were still allowed to notice whether or not I took care of what they had given me.
“Stewardship” is one of those weird words like “sanctified”, or “back-slide” that seems to exist in Church and nowhere else. Growing up, I always heard the word in conjunction with tithing… As in, “Be a good steward of what God gave you! …And give us a slice.”
The word has started to grow on me. A “steward” is a person who has been made responsible for someone else’s property. Typically this person acted on the behalf of their superior to help manage the nitty-gritty of day to day life, especially as it related to finances.
Lately I’ve felt like I’m feeling my faith in terms of being an acting agent on God’s behalf. Not in a creepy, hive-mind “convert the heathens” kind of way, but… recognizing ownership.
None of this is mine. Not this house, not my crappy van, not my cats, not my wife, not my novel, not this blog. God has entrusted these things to me for as long as we’re all here together. It’s my job to help bring Shalom to them. To make them better. To make them like God intended. And that’s what we’re all called to do. To look around at our life, at all the places that we get our hands dirty with the muck and mire of humanity and figure out how to make it better.
We’ve been taught that Heaven is this thing that comes later… And that’s partly true, there’s definitely something that comes after this… But if you look back on all the times Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God, he wasn’t talking in the future tense. He was talking about right now.
So, go. Pour yourself into the things you care about. Stay up late talking with friends. Play a game. Help build a house. Go for a walk. Sculpt something. Make your life a story worth telling. Stop worrying. None of this is yours to worry about. All you have to do is leave it better than you found it.
Paul Allen is the editor of Hunting for God. After growing up in an Assemblies of God church, he attended Johnson Bible College for two years before dropping out. In the time since, he has more or less figured out the whole “adulthood” thing, gotten married, and holds a steady job by day and writes movie scripts by night. He currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Leah and two cats, Ego and Karma. HfG on FB