As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. I Peter 4:10 NKJV
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I worked at JCPenney in Bloomington, Indiana. Once a year, after the store closed on Saturday evening, we would take a physical inventory of everything in the store–an activity lasting two days. Remember, these were the days before handheld devices and RFID tags. It was a slow and tedious job of counting and recording. Finally, sometime Sunday late afternoon, with the inventory complete, we headed home weary from the exertion.
A fascinating story, you say; what does it have to do with stewardship? First, we are all recipients of God's manifold grace. If we pause and inventory all that we have–the tangible and intangible–they are all gifts from God. Yes, we may take partial credit because they have been purchased with earnings, but the fact we even exist to earn is a gift of God. God is the source of all good things; we are simply recipients.
When we operate, knowing that everything is first God's changes how we think of stewardship. If our bodies, family, friends, neighbors, jobs, homes–everything we have come from God, doesn't that change how we perceive them? As responsible beneficiaries, how do we respond to that manifold grace? Can we really justify holding anything back in our service to His glory?
God of everything, we acknowledge you as the source of all we've been given and offer our humble thanks. Help us be good stewards of these gifts and generous in using them for your glory. Amen.