A note about Stewardship: While November can be a cold and grey month, it is nevertheless for me a month of nostalgia and warm fuzzies as I recall the harvest. I fondly recall the smell of freshly tilled soil, the ubiquitous clods of dirt on the roads and highways from the farmers’ tractors and grain wagons, the sound of the large tractor combines humming in the distant fields, and my sense of awe at the stark beauty of the now empty fields; and I’d stare amazed at the enormous piles of corn (some well over 50 feet high) temporarily stored in parking lots. I loved the sense of pride and accomplishment within my classmates and friends as they stowed away their equipment not only for the long winter months, but also ready for the planting the next spring. The tired farmers would gather for 25-cent coffee at the local greasy spoon to swap stories and laugh (and complain about the commodity prices and weather!). But their converstions would inevitably return to a sense of pure gratitude for participating in what God was able to produce through their own hard work. These farmers saw and spoke openly of themselves as stewards of God’s gift of land and seed. And walking by the yellow-gold mountains of field corn one could easily see (and even smell in the sweet earthiness of grain) an abundance of God’s generosity harvested by those stewards of God’s earth.
Mr. Danielson was the first person to ever have a tractor combine in Vining, MN and when another farmer was falling behind in his harvest, he came in to town and asked Mr. Danielson if he might be able to borrow his machine for a day or two. Mr. Danielson famously replied “I don’t own one. But the Good Lord and the bank have one parked in my front yard. I’m sure they won’t even know it’s missing.” Mr. Danielson understood himself as a steward.
What is a steward? The internet ditionary says that a steward is a person who looks after the passengers on a ship, aircraft , or train and brings them meals. Synonyms: flight attendant, cabin attendant. Perhaps aptly said in our vernacular, a steward is someone who takes care of other people and their stuff. Stewardship, then, is simply doing that which a steward does. Rev. Glenn Taibl provided us these three definitions of what stewardship is:
Stewardship is the management of all of life with Christ at the center. Stewardship is everything you do after saying, “I Believe” Stewardship is living your life in such a way that God can spend you.
With these definitions one can now see that Stewardship is not a moment in the autumn, nor is it a “campaign to raise money for the church.” Instead, real stewardship is a style of living one’s life in faith in Jesus Christ. Stewardship is management of all of life knowing that Christ owns it all.
***A pastoral note about our exploration of the Reconciling in Christ process: As the person currently stewarding the Offce of Pastor for St. John’s Lutheran Church, I am aware that not every member of this congregation will share the same outlook on the RIC process currently underway. I believe that this process of becoming an RIC congregation is an important step in the life of our congregation and an important statement of welcome to the LGBTQ+ community. But, I also know that this process takes time and requires a lot of conversation. Please know that I take very seriously my role in facilitating conversation and listening to all members of St. John’s Lutheran Church. My door is always open and I welcome the conversation with you. Your servant in Christ and steward of the Offce of Pastor for St. John’s Lutheran Church, Mark