I have been reading and reflecting upon the first letter to the Corinthians lately. Last night this is what caught my eye:
Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 1 Corinthians 4: 1
Stewards of the mysteries of God…. what does that mean, and what would it look like?
I started to think about what stewards do. How their job seems to be to facilitate things in order that people will receive what they need (or desire). In a way they are like servants, but they have a greater responsibility, they can act on their own initiative in order to accomplish what the Master needs done, but also to serve those whom the Master has given him or her responsibility for.
That started me thinking about Phillip, head steward for the Lido and pool deck of a cruise I took through the Panama Canal.
While on the cruise I joined a group of people who participated in the early morning wake up in the pool. It was designed as a programme of light stretching, but it also involved a lot of laughter and considerable amounts of tom-foolery.
Every morning as we were in the pool Phillip came down to greet us, and make note of who was there that day. Then, when the grueling and exhausting workout was done, we would emerge from the pool to be greeted by tables set up for us. At every place was a fresh towel. There was fresh hot coffee made to our liking (mine was always milk, not cream) the juice of our choice (orange) and the pastry of our choice (freshly baked currant bun). After the first day Phillip never again asked what we would like, he simply remembered and brought it.
What a treat, after that cold dip, to be able to relax with just what we needed and desired, and to be able to relax together and enjoy one another’s company.
So what about me as a steward of the mysteries of God? How do I see that calling fulfilled in my life?
I think that for me, as a minister this is a two-fold calling.
- As a leader among leaders I have a responsibility to encourage and empower others in the gifts and graces of their calling. That means passing on what I have learned, meeting their needs for knowledge, information and inspiration. It means setting an example, and showing others how the mysteries of God make a difference in my life. It means being aware of each person’s unique gifts and skills and giving them what they need and desire. It means building a relationship with them and making it possible for them to develop relationships with those whom they are called to serve.
- All of us are stewards of the greatest mystery: GRACE. As stewards of grace we are called to share the good news of Christ, crucified and risen. What people in this world need most of all is to know that God loves them and that God forgives them. The mystery of the gift of Jesus in his death and resurrection is the foolishness of the cross that confuses the world. It is our task to reveal the love, the deep deep love of God, that makes that foolishness the best gift ever given.
Is being a steward of the mysteries of God a big job? Yes. Is it an insurmountable job? No. In fact I think that it is a job that has many benefits and rewards, and a great deal of joy. Additionally, I believe that as we are faithful to this task that even greater mysteries of God’s grace will be revealed to us.
I believe that I am capable of fulfilling this task. AND I believe that you are capable of fulfilling this task. Reveal the mystery and know God’s joy. .