From Owner to Steward
From Owner to Steward
To navigate our way along this trek we will be guided by the following key text, image, themes and prayer.
Key Verse—Ecclesiastes 5:8-20
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit. Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands. This too is a grievous evil. As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind? All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger. This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
Guiding Image—Jar of Soil
At the outset of this trek I want you to find a jar and fill it with dirt and place it someplace where you can see it every morning.
I love the image of a simple jar of dirt. Take a moment and really look at that soil in your jar. We were literally created out of just such dirt and we will, one day be turned back into the same dirt. It’s really pretty amazing stuff. We are made of the same molecules that make up every other living thing on the planet. We are the “Crown of creation” not because of those molecules, but because of the life-giving breath of God that was breathed into us.
Dirt and the breath of God, that constitutes who we are as we walk this planet. This is not a sorrowful statement but one of great joy, for it is the breath of God in us that grants us the awesome opportunity to bear his image in the world he created for us. This should cause us to marvel at the power of God’s creation. It should be an ever-present reminder to us that we are, at the molecular level, one with all parts of the earth that we inhabit. It should also send us to our knees in praise and worship to the God who breathed that life into us and who loves us and seeks to fill us every day with the Holy Spirit that we might live the life he created us to live.
It also reminds us that between the dirt from which we were formed, and the dirt to which we will all return, it’s all his! Nothing between our creation and our final death ever belongs to us. Solomon reminded us of that in the text above. He also tells us that when we remember that everything belongs to God, we can be set free to enjoy the blessings of God without always desiring more. We can know contentment as God “keeps us occupied with gladness of heart.”
We are the breath of God, everything in all creation belongs to him, and our contentment comes not from things but from focusing on the Giver of all things—all that from a jar of dirt!
- Knowing God with Certainty (Meditations 1-3)
- Knowing Who We Are and Why We Were Created (Meditations 4-5)
- Our Journey to Freedom as Faithful Stewards (Meditations 6-7)
Lord, prepare my heart for this journey. I don’t know where all you will take me, but give me a willing spirit to follow you. I believe you have a better, more abundant and joyful life for me than the one I am living. I need faith and courage for this trek, as I know you will ask me to trust you, believe your word and submit my life to you in greater ways than I may ever have before. Drive out all my fear as I take the first steps on this road. Take my hand, lead me on and don’t let me get distracted along the way. I am ready to go if you will be my guide. I trust you, prepare my heart to trust you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.