As an average American male, my adult years have been spent being stuck in a vicious cycle of work, eat, sleep repeat. I began thinking there has to be more than just bringing in a paycheck and trying to earn everyone’s approval. Until the day everything in my life changed because I began to hear the word Steward everywhere I turned.
See, my parents had given me a great foundation of morals and values before I went out into the world on my own. Unknown to me at the time, those values would be put to the test.
Following in my father’s footsteps, I had joined the military, not as a career like him but to possibly get a college education in the future. A good plan or so I thought. Soon after going through training and being assigned to a unit, I began to realize that not all men had the high values that I had. Some men would look down on me with disdain but others would stand by my side as we helped each other get through the workday. I began to fall into the routine all us men get stuck in and my standards for myself started to lower as the weight of the world’s opinions or views weighed me down.
Around a year into my service, I met my wife. The moment I laid my eyes on her I knew she was the one as if a voice had literally told me so. Life went on as it does, we got married, had a wonderful daughter, and I finished my term in the military all while that weight continued to get heavier and heavier. At many points in my life, I had felt so beaten down to the point of being truly broken.
I have battled with the misconception of what culture deems I am as a man. With the grace of God, I am here to tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it comes down to what was bestowed upon us from the beginning, we are Stewards.
The Critics Rebuke
Looking back with my renewed perspective caused me to reevaluate situations that we experience all the time. One that comes to mind goes something like this…
You and your wife are going to a function to meet her family. When you get there she graciously takes you around and introduces you to family and friends. Going on through the evening you’re asked questions by everyone. Courteously you answer and on occasion you get mixed expressions tacked on with a boast here or rebuke there.
As you start to feel the weight of everyone’s eyes and words upon you. You step outside to have some fresh air. While away from the many conversations going on behind closed doors you realize that most of the questions that everyone but a few asked had been, “So what do you do for a living?”, “Where do you work?”, or “How much does that pay?”.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? If it does you’re not the only one that has noticed. Too often our worth to someone is measured by those dollar bills; not your character, values, or morals. Which, in turn, determines whether you deserve their approval or respect.
In His Image
Listen, fellas, there’s only one approval you need to have and that is His. Sound harsh? Well then let me ask you something. Would you rather have the approval of One with unwavering high standards or of the masses with constantly shifting low ones? I don’t know about you guys but I would rather follow the one with the map than the ones aimlessly wandering around. Now lean back in your chair and mull that over for a bit…
Does it feel like some of that weight you’ve been carrying has been lifted? I hope it did because it will lead you to a happier, less stressful, and productive life. Not only that but by working to receive His approval you also take on these high standards and values, along with a map of your own. As you begin to follow this map other like-minded people and even some of the aimlessly lost will start to follow you to His approval. Thus you have become a steward of the Lord.
Now you are on the road to stewardship and helping others on their path as well.
Beaten and Broken
As I continue this journey of stewardship I see many other examples of men who are struggling, but the one that stands out the strongest is the broken man who no longer cares.
You’re a hardworking man bringing in a good paycheck. Five days or more a week you go to work on time, do your job, then come home.
When you get home you jump right onto the computer or console. Trying to crank out a level or two to get your mind off of how terrible your day was or how much you hate your job. Better yet you grab a beer, flop down on the couch, and flip on the TV to watch your favorite sports show. All the while your wife is talking to you and your children are trying to get your attention. Ignoring them you continue to do your thing then head to bed only to start the routine all over again.
I’ve seen this happen with many good men and have even experienced it myself. Life doesn’t have to be like this, we can make a change by being good stewards.
Being A Good Steward
So, what is a steward? Simply put from the dictionary it is, “a person whose responsibility it is to take care of something”. For example, “farmers pride themselves on being stewards of the countryside”. I’ve always felt that there was more meaning to it than that. To find that meaning I had to go further back.
In the beginning, God bestowed upon us a great gift and we were to be the stewards of it. That gift was the Earth and all that encompassed it. Once this was brought forward to me, I was given this meaning to share with you.
A steward is, “a chivalrous individual that takes great care to be responsible and honorable. They show respect to those that have earned it and receive it in kind. Stewards courageously complete tasks or issues that arise in a diligent and simple manner. While taking heed to the quality of their work, tools, and time spent”.
When I received these words the meaning came clear. We are to take responsibility and care for all things in our lives. While doing it in a way that will gain His approval.
A Steward I Shall Forever Be
I am by far no saint. I have made many mistakes in life and fallen from my own moral standards. But I pray that my mistakes are learning lessons for you as they were for me. Bringing you hope that there is a light in the darkness and the foundation to be a good steward.
With that fellow-men, I say…
Go out into the world giving dignity where it’s due. Be chivalrous to show how much you appreciate your wife. They work hard to help make your life easier. Take heed of the quality time with your children. They grow up so quickly. Lastly, grab those tools and get to work…