Meriam Webster does a simplistic job of explaining the concept of stewardship. Stewardship is a topic I love to read about; mainly because it can be incorporated into every aspect of ones life- career, personal relationships, hobbies, and most importantly, our relationship with God.
I think an easy way of explaining stewardship is through a parable. In Matthew 25, Jesus illustrates this concept through the parable of the talents. To quickly summarize, a Master entrusts different amounts of gold to three different servants right before he leaves for a trip- one he gives five bags, one he gives three bags, and the last he gives one, all according to their ability.
So here's the interesting part.
Upon his return, his servants illicit two distinct reactions from him. For the two servants that took the money and invested it, the master was pleased.
He called them good and faithful, rewarding them with even more since they were diligent with the small amount he initially gave them. Homie was happy.
But we know every story always has that ONE person...
The one he gave the least amount of gold decided that it was ok to bury the gold and pretty much do nothing with it. Obviously, the master's response was less than ecstatic.
The parable records that the master ordered that the servant be thrown out in the darkness.
As easy as it is to criticize the servant that did nothing with what the master entrusted him with, it's something we can find ourselves slipping into if we are not careful. "Burying our talents," as the third servant did is quite easy. It could be not giving your all at your work place or ministry. It could be not putting in that extra hour of studying that you know you need to put in. It could be not going to practice. It may be having the ability to help a person but ignoring that little voice on the inside that tells you "do it". It's could even be overlooking a need of that last patient because you don't feel like dealing with it. It could be so many things.
God has given us so many experiences, abilities, talents, responsibilities, and even gifts that we do not maximize and utilize to full potential. This parable encourages us to take what we have, invest in them (whether that be investing time, practice, money, whatever) and employ them in our daily lives impacting those around us in hope of furthering His kingdom.
back to stewardship.
Stewardship is diligently working to carry out responsibilities that you have been entrusted with.
As a health professional in training, I learned quickly that the patient's trust is my responsibility. Hence, I believe stewardship goes a long way in all careers, but an enormous way in the healthcare realm. This is one of the main reasons why I chose and love dentistry.
With this stewardship comes the coupled satisfaction of being able to reach and impact people that ordinarily, I would not have been able to reach. For example, in March I had the opportunity of traveling to the Honduras with the CMMA (Christian Medical Ministry of Alabama) on a dental mission trip. This trip changed my life. I took this trip during one of the hardest semesters in my educational career. At this point in the semester, I was extremely exhausted, frustrated and even distraught. Never in my life had I worked so hard to stay afloat or even make good grades. I questioned (daily) whether Dental school was for me.
However, the trip brought things back into perspective for me. As a team we were able to treat hundreds of people, providing basic dental treatment to those that could not afford nor attain dental care. This included extractions, operative work and prophys that were all governed by licensed dentists. Every patient that was treated thanked us with immense gratitude. By the end of the week I was renewed- I realized that what I had been experiencing back home was temporary and only a means to my overall desire and goal of being a dentist that impacts my community.
So what have you been entrusted with? Of course, you don't have to travel across the world to utilize your talents gifts or skills. No community is perfect, thus every community has needs. There are thousands of volunteer and non profit organizations that need help and could always use volunteers. Remember that team work makes the dream work. Working on a team makes it a lot easier to tackle goals. Pairing with a local church or organization can make it easier for you to utilize your skills and abilities to impact others.
(Back To School Bash @ Avondale Church of Christ, Birmingham Al)
In all, make use of your talents, skills, hobbies and aspirations. You never know who or what you could inspire.