I snapped this photo while I still could. A noble stone and brick house in Rennes peered sadly over the barrier being constructed. A sign indicated what would become of the lot it stood on for generations. In Rennes, beautiful homes like these are being sacrificed for the sake of apartments that look like cement cereal boxes. It makes me sad. The history and character of the city is being lost. That beautiful building could have been renovated into a multiple family dwelling. Just days later, all that was left was a hole in the ground. If it were up to me, that house would have been stewarded differently.
We have present day needs, sometimes terribly urgent. But our lives are like a breath rushing through the majestic forest of history. How we steward what is entrusted to us is a test. I just finished reading the book The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel (no I haven’t seen the film yet). Their work to rescue and preserve artwork from Cathedrals to paintings to sculptures during the second world war was incredibly noble. History and culture are preserved and transmitted through such works! And I recently heard on the news that a Jihadi had been prosecuted for destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali. Can the 9 years he was sentenced in any way make up for the damage he was responsible for? Impossible. Of course, the human toll in these global conflicts is even more heartbreaking. The violence suffered in Syria and Africa are beyond our comprehension, and I would argue much more important.
Stewardship reaches broadly across our lives. I spent years remodeling our apartment, trying to be a good steward of our home. I dutifully wash our 15-year-old car in spite of the rust lining the wheel wells. We do our best to provide good meals to our growing boys. But how are we stewarding our finances? Our time? Our relationships? It’s easy to see how the stewardship of physical things can endure beyond our lifetime: the tree we plant or house we build or work of art we paint can live on. But I think how we steward things that are unseen has an even greater eternal impact. Every person – soul – we interact with is eternal. The mechanic working on my car is far more important than my car. What influence am I having on those around me? I think our conscience and emotions can be our eyes into this unseen world. When I feel embarrassed and ashamed because I lost my temper, I wasn’t being a good steward of relationships. When I have an opportunity to share the gospel and my whole being bubbles with joy, I was being a good steward. It’s good to stop and ask – why am I feeling this way? It might be related to stewardship.
“We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20,21