Proverbs 12:27 Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.
This is a slice of wisdom about stewardship and the motivations behind it. It’s difficult to be a good steward if you are lazy because good stewardship requires diligence i.e. work.
Of course the first step in stewardship is to understand its implications. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that dwells therein.” (Ps 24:1). If everything is the Lord’s then in actuality we do not own anything. We are simply taking care of His things. That’s what stewards do. Also as stewards we can expect the Owner to return one day and ask us to give an accounting of how well we took care of His things. This is the responsibility part of stewardship.
But stewardship also has its rewards. When we were first married, Beth and I tended to waste a lot of food. Neither of us cared for leftovers. In this we were poor stewards. But over the years we have acquired three dogs, fourteen chickens, thousands of worms in a worm farm and tens of thousands of bees in two hives. We have learned that what the dogs don’t eat, the chickens will, and what the chickens don’t eat, the worms will. We also began recycling years ago and we make regular trips to Good Will, so very little in our house now goes to waste. There is an intangible but wonderful feeling that comes from being better stewards.
Another reward is that we get to interact with God’s creatures. Our dogs of course are family but the chickens have such quirky personalities that they too bring joy. The bees and the worms fascinate us as they do what God created them to do.
There is also joy in watching life go full circle. The worm castings are used in the garden, which is pollinated by the bees, and from which Beth feeds us and the dogs. (Yes our dogs love vegetables). And when she throws the weeds from the garden in the chicken house you would have thought that she was serving up filet mignon. In our techno world we have lost touch with life cycles like this and in my opinion we are not the better for it.
Additional joy comes in sharing the eggs and vegetables and honey with others. It is a way of building community and practicing hospitality, which is also an important aspect of stewardship. These are just a few of the rewards of working to be a better steward of God’s earth.
I understand that not everyone has the time or the space to raise a menagerie but we all can focus on being more diligent and making use of what we have been given. There are absolutely no benefits in being lazy and wasting resources, but there is joy to be found in being a good steward, joy both for this life and for the life to come. Of all my goals in life, my ultimate life’s goal is to hear these words; “Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:23).