Stewardship turns our focus toward what we have, not what we don’t
Written by Lindy Brown
In April, we see proof of the strange truth Jesus demonstrated for us at Easter: new life comes out of sacrifice. Small seeds given away in hope, later producing a harvest. Jesus who had no earthly possessions gave up his own life to gift life to you and me. Giving generates good.
Nine-year-old Keysha knows this truth. In her Compassion centre in Indonesia, she heard about Jesus feeding the five thousand with just a little bread and fish. As she walked to her home under a canopy of jungle trees, she realized that her family also was being fed by a miracle. A stranger on the other side of the world chose to sponsor her, and because of that she could go to school, learn about God at her Compassion centre, and have access to all she needs to thrive. Lately, because of a recent food crisis, her family received regular essential food packs.
One day when she arrived home, Keysha’s eyes fell on an open sack of rice. She made a plan. She wanted to be generous too, but she didn’t have much! She would take five handfuls of rice and give them to the widows in her village with no family.
When Keysha’s friends heard about her five handfuls of rice, they wanted to join in too. In a month, the generosity snowballed until her church had collected 75 kilograms of rice, enough for 750 meals! This inspired parents in the village to come together monthly to give handfuls of their precious rice away, feeding the most vulnerable among them.
In Ethiopia, another Compassion centre found a way to fight their pressing food insecurity and exploding costs of living. Instead of focusing on the scarcity all around them, the centre director, Aposto, had hope. He began to teach about sustainable farming. He asked the community to consider what they had in their hands and gave them the motto “no land should be left empty.” Every family was encouraged to grow their own food on whatever tiny plot of land they could find. Every place the sunlight reached would receive seed and be cultivated.
With hard work, the families began to see the fruit of their labour as they harvested corn, red beans, and vegetables. The culture of the neighbourhood began to change after only one harvest. Parents began to help one another, or voluntarily weed crops in the fields behind the church. In using all that they had at hand, they soon had an abundance of food—enough to save some and still share with others!
What is in your hands? God has been asking His people this same question since the early days of Israel.
In response to Moses’ request for help, God simply asks, “What is in your hand, Moses?” God chose to enact miracles through the shepherd’s staff in Moses’ hand. As the story of Scripture progresses, a widow’s small amount of oil becomes an abundance. A little boy’s lunch feeds a hillside of hungry travellers. Paul’s Roman citizenship gave him audiences. When each of them had almost nothing, God made it enough.
Stewardship requires us to take our focus off what we don’t have and turn it toward what we do. It asks us to imagine, What if my little became a lot?
What do you have that could be given away? Is it time? Is there a spare plot—however small—in your life that you could do good with? Do you have influence, abilities, or money? That’s what God will do the miracle with, that’s what He asks you and me to give to change the world. That is the seed we are asked to plant or the land we must cultivate.
What is in your hands? And do you have the faith to give it away?