As Christians, the word “stewardship” is one with which we are very familiar. For as long as I can remember, I have been reminded that as a committed follower of Jesus Christ, being a faithful steward should play an important role in my life. And of course, as a pastor, I am constantly reminding God’s people that He expects them to be good managers of all that He has placed in their hands. And that’s exactly what we are as stewards; managers. When you briefly examine the etymology of the word steward, you will see that it is from two root words, oikos (house) and nomos (law). So in essence, being a steward means that you are the “law of the house.” Or in other words, you have been given the authority to manage or oversee all that has been placed in your care.
But recently while singing a very familiar hymn, the concept of what it means to be a faithful steward took on a completely different meaning for me. The hymn was, My Jesus, I Love Thee. Now, this has always been one of my favorite songs, but for some reason on this particular day, my attention was drawn to the words of the third stanza as never before. The words were:
I’ll love Thee in life; I will love Thee in death.
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.
These powerful but yet poetic words remind us that even the air we breathe does not belong to us, but it is merely on loan to us from the Creator Himself. Just like everything else that God has placed in our care, He expects us to be good stewards of them, including the air that flows through our lungs. And the hymn writer makes it clear that being a good steward of this breath of life, means that we must use it to bring glory and honor to God both in word as well as in deed.
So the next time you take a deep breath, let it serve as a reminder that it is merely on loan to you and that one day when you least expect it, it will be returned to its true owner. And personally, when that time does come, my prayer is that upon evaluation of my stewardship of this precious gift of life, all of heaven will hear Him say, “Well done!”
(by Charles Tapp)