Steward or owner?

How far will we take, “I am the bondslave of Christ”?  How seriously will we take the idea of stewardship vs. ownership?

I’m still processing my walkthrough with the lady who cleans the church (N).  Two hours of hearing her talk about doing it right for Jesus – and two hours of watching her get down on her hands and knees to realign the dirt-catching rugs in front of the doors and retie the trashbags in the trashcans so they were not just tied, but tied perfectly.

I’ve said before that I’m anything but a perfectionist – I get frustrated or tired and I’m just ready to be done.   I don’t mind taking pains to get things right, but taking pains and seeing the thing I worked so hard on get messed up?  Drives me bonkers.  Yes, of course I clean my own house – it’s my job.  But I don’t perfectionist clean anything except when I’m Spring Cleaning.  It’s only going to get dirty again.

But.  Over and over and over, you know what N said?  That she wanted the church cleaned perfectly because it was being cleaned for Jesus.  When we left the bathrooms, she said she wanted those bathrooms clean enough that if Jesus came, she didn’t have to stop Him and say, “just a minute while I fix this up for You”, she wanted things that way all the time.  Why?  Because this church didn’t belong to *her* – or to me.  It belongs to Jesus.

But so do I.  And thus, so does everything I “have”.  Nothing really belongs to me, does it?  I’m a steward over everything that God has given to me.  So, properly, I should keep everything maintained perfectly… but when I (to be brutally honest) focus on the physical things in my life, I forget to take care of the non physical.

This hangs with something else I’ve been confronting – where do I get my approval?  I was telling my husband what I’d done when he got home from work the other day, detailing every little task that got completed, and he turned to me and said, “Honey – you don’t have to tell me that you worked hard today”.  Mrph.  What do I do with that?  I want some messy combination of being approved (“Good girl!  Worked hard!  Nice job!”) and to prove that I respect *his* hard work (“Good girl!  Worked hard just like me!  Nice job!”).  And he doesn’t want me to tell him about reorganizing the bookshelves.  Even if it DID take three hours.   So I guess my physical work isn’t for him.  (Okay, unless I weed the roses.)  Is it for me?  Is it just … stuff?

How do I direct my tasks?  If I focus on the physical because I can see it and feel it and touch it and get approval from it… I am unable to give energy to the non-physical.  If I tell myself that I really needed to spend that time taking a nap and a bath, ’cause I need to be at my best, how long until I’m lounging and eating bon-bons?

Who am I trying to please?   How do I unplug myself from the desire to please myself (because approval-seeking behavior ultimately is about pleasing myself) and let go to please God alone?

Who owns me?

5 thoughts on “Steward or owner?

  1. Sis

    There is definitely a place in Christianity for work done well. A furniture maker who makes expert level oak tables with little curly-Q’s and intricate carvings is glorifying God. Not because he is making it perfect, but because the entire time he is carving those little patterns, he is praising the Lord, he is thinking about the Lord, he is sending up his offering to the Lord. We are his servants, yes, but work without offering, without praise, isn’t as good as work done for Him, regardless of the perfection level. Maybe detailed cleaning is not your area, don’t feel bad about that….but how bad do you feel when your stitches are not exactly correct on your lace dresses? This is an art that you love to do, that you painstakingly make sure is perfect, that you give away to your friends as gifts of love. Don’t beat yourself up about cleaning rugs perfectly when you have a different place in the body of Christ.

    1. hearthie Post author

      I’m not (exactly) beating myself up, I am musing.

      I am all about craftsmanship, if not weeding. 😉

      But I was thinking more … how do we decide where to allocate our limited resources? We have to be dependent on the Spirit to guide us and then we sometimes listen to other spirits and get guided inappropriately so we can’t JUST rely on the quiet voice…

      It’s an attitude I want to grow. That all belongs to God. ALL.

      1. Sis

        good, I’m glad you weren’t beating yourself up. I like the attitude that ALL belongs to God, blessings.

  2. Sarah's Daughter

    Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

    I contemplate these words over and over when I get into obsessive mode.

    When it comes to my home, if Jesus were to come would it be obvious those in our home have a heart to know Him, love Him, hear Him? I have found when my heart is right, I stop obsessing over the dirt under the stove.


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