The more I sit and ponder the last few days, the more I realize a couple of things that I think God wanted to teach me. In brief, a couple of nights ago I had the distinct pleasure of abdominal pain brought on by my gallbladder being out of whack! I have to admit that I have had a couple of \”episodes\” within the past year, where my gall bladder would flair up and I would get intense gas pain. I actually thought it was just that…gas pain. I would take some medicine and let it die down and drift off to sleep. In December I had an episode that I would say escalated. While it behaved the same way as other times, this time there was some vomiting, to the point of only being bile coming up. I had been told that my gall bladder was misbehaving and it would need to be looked at. This most recent episode was worse by far than any other, it never stopped. The pain never left, never subsided, it just stayed continuously. In short I had to go to the ER and have it removed. I know the details of this story might be TMI, but it was necessary for you to see that I had a pattern. You see the lesson that God wanted me to understand was one of stewardship.
Stewardship is not about taking care of what is mine, its about taking care of what has been given me by someone else; someone who entrusts me with their own stuff. In short, all of life is one big opportunity of stewardship. From the very beginning of Scripture, stewardship of God\’s creation has been a centerpiece of relationship with Him. It\’s why God said to Adam to \”rule\”in Genesis 2. It was a command to exercise authority and dominion, by exercising care to the best of our ability. Second to that, was the sign of stewardship: Honor. Honoring God in this sense was really our personal declaration back to God that we recognize him as the source of all life. The first opportunity to honor God was through Cain and Abel. Abel gave God the fat portions from the first of his flocks, while Cain simply gave some of the fruit from his produce. God received Abels sacrifice, but didn\’t receive Cains.
Fast forward several years, and we have Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church to honor God with our bodies. This is where I found myself lacking and the lesson that God was showing me. Looking at the context of this instruction, Paul is talking about sexuality, but the actual beginning of the passage is talking about food. It dawned on me in that realization that Paul was dealing with the lasseiz faire way of carelessness we have about things because of GRACE. Whether it was the food we eat or the sexual partner we chose out of wedlock or any other thing that we took on as part of Grace covering it, it was not a good thing! While GRACE is amazing and covers us, when we abuse Grace we dishonor God. I was ignoring the signs my body was giving me that stress and perhaps the things that I was eating was hurting me, even though I seemed alright. The fact remains I wasn\’t!
This means that while Grace covers me, and I\’m good with that, I can\’t just take a careless way and dishonor God with my body. The one that he entrusted to me. If I truly take stewardship seriously, I have to begin understanding that it isn\’t just about finances and possessions, its about EVERYTHING! God gave me this body and I haven\’t been the best steward of it. But I want that to change! Now this is where I could get into all the dietary laws and stuff within scripture, but I\’m gonna save all the discussion to say it this way…the food wasn\’t about what not to eat, it was about the best way to steward Gods possession he was entrusting to us. Looking back from the very beginning, what God gave man to eat and how it changed, was simply God\’s way of saying there is a good way to steward and a bad way to steward. I understand the freedom that we have in the New Testament life that we live, but poor stewardship is still poor stewardship.
So what now? Well step back and be more engaged with my body, work out, eat better, take care of this vessel that has been entrusted to me. In the same way that I surrender my finances through honoring God and tithing which lets him know that I recognize he is the source of my every need, I must also honor God through better care of this body so that I recognize God as the source of my living. There is another area of stewardship for another time; spiritual which I may cover, but for right now I want God to know that I get it. He is the SOURCE and I am the STEWARD and when I surrender my control to this truth…I will find that this body and the increase in my life will never fade or turn against me. God has me and has rebuked the devourer for my sake once again, and I\’m glad to walk out this victory…maybe with some ice cream!