As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)
From time to time I hear well-meaning Christians say something like “Being Christian requires just one thing: faith.” Now, the just one thing changes from person to person. For someone else, the “just one thing” is love. For another, forgiveness; for others, mercy or peace or justice or generosity. The flaw in the logic is that being Christian is never about “just one thing.”
Stewardship is all about managing wisely and well all that God has placed in our care. To be a faithful steward means to be a faithful custodian of God’s vision and will on earth. Think for a moment about and custodian you have ever met. Did this person have a key ring? Was there just one key on that ring. In my experience, custodial key rings are bursting with keys – so many in fact that it boggles the mind to think how one could possibly remember which key goes to which lock.
This, for me, is a wonderful metaphor for Christian stewardship – keepers of the keys. And what are the keys we possess? Love, faith, hope, grace, generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, patience, joy, humility, justice, forgiveness, tolerance, peace, gentleness, self-control, wisdom, knowledge, teaching, prophecy, servanthood, healing, sacrifice, gratitude, thanksgiving, intercession, confession, harmony, unity, and dozens more. And what are the locks they fit? Hostility, violence, prejudice, injustice, narrow-mindedness, pain and suffering, fear, anxiety, human and natural disasters, grief, addiction, broken relationships, intolerance, economic inequity, abuse of power, and a host of other destructive forces.
We are in a challenging and trying time in our country and world. There are no clear and simple solutions to the overwhelmingly complex problems we face. However, we carry a pretty powerful key ring as Christians. We may not be able to open every door and offer a solution to every problem, but we can use what we do have wisely and well, and in whatever way possible contribute to the good and deny the bad.
Prayer: Gracious God, to us you entrust the keys to the kingdom! We have such great capacity and opportunity to use the keys of your love and grace to make our world and our lives better. Make us good and faithful stewards. We pray this humbly in Jesus’ name.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.