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FIRST-PERSON: Good stewardship extends beyond finances, to all of one’s talent

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–“When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”

This is one of my favorite quotes by Erma Bombeck. Before I read this, whenever I thought about Erma, I immediately thought of her humor. Now, I think of her as a woman desiring to be a good steward of all that God had given her. She put into words what many of us feel as we grow in our understanding of stewardship. At some point in our lives, we begin to recognize all the wonderful things God has provided for us and desire to use those gifts appropriately.

What is your understanding of stewardship? Is it giving money to your church? Is it giving an extra gift to a special charity at the end of the year? Neither of these is bad. But if the only concept we have of stewardship is related to money, then we have missed some important biblical truths.

Several years ago Woman’s Missionary Union published a book by Calvin Partain titled “Trusted Steward.” In the opening pages, Partain states that “a steward is a manager of goods that belong to someone else.” He outlines three basic foundational truths of stewardship:

1) God owns everything.

2) God has entrusted some of his possessions to us.

3) God holds us accountable.

These simple truths call us to recognize that God, as the creator of all of life, has entrusted us with everything we are and have — our body, mind, soul, talents, time and possessions. The Greek word for entrusted is translated “to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage.” God has graciously given each of us many wonderful gifts and abilities. He desires that we use those in service for him (i.e. Matthew 25).

WMU has been entrusted over the past 113 years with a wealth of resources. As stewards of all that God has given us, we are responsible for passing our missions heritage on to those who will follow after us.

For me personally, that means I need to give of my time in educating others about the biblical mandate to care about the people of the world. I must share my professional skills and abilities through missions experiences whenever and wherever God calls me, all for the express purpose of sharing the gospel. And I need to give of my money for the development of missions leaders in the future.

Stewardship is essential in a believer’s life. It is giving our lives back to the One who has so generously blessed us. Like Erma Bombeck, when this life is over, my prayer is that “I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”
Lee is executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union, an auxiliary of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Wanda S. Lee