His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
As a child, my first introduction to what a Steward is was in reading and watching Lord of the Rings. The Steward of Gondor was intended to watch over the kingdom until the return of the King. Tolkien was fond of biblical imagery, implying we are stewards of the kingdom only until the return of our own King, Christ. And although I started flying often as a young kid, I didn't connect that title and responsibility to Stewardesses. And soon after I began flying, their title was changed to Flight Attendants. And while I appreciate the inclusion intended in that new title, like many modern words, it loses the meaning of the older word.
This Sunday, the youth group tackled the idea of Stewardship, in preparation for our annual giving time in the church. We discussed Stewards and Stewardesses. They care for the airplane, the galley, the bags, the pilots, and passengers. They do not own the plane. They care for it and its passengers. If we are stewards of the earth, its people, and the resources on it, we are not owners, but caregivers. Our students understand well the concept of caregiving. They all have clothes, cars, bedrooms, phones, and various personal belongings. They think of them as their own, but they all voiced that they have clear expectations and rules set forth by their parents about how they use and care for those items.
Stewardship is a relationship of care-giving and nurture, one of trust that is rooted in love and generosity, but also in rules and expectations. What a gift and responsibility to be a steward of an entire kingdom. And so we are, as brothers and sisters in God's world. When seen this way, our care and generosity must be our common and most important purpose as we await the return of the King. Our youth are ready to be generous of their time, talents, and treasures. I hope we will all match their enthusiasm and joy this year.