As SAUP draws to a close, we are beginning to talk more and more about real ways to incorporate all of the things we have learned, all of the lessons God has taught us, into our lives. Or rather, how we can incorporate our lives into the kind of kingdom lifestyle God desires for us.
This week, my SAUP family and I spent time learning about Stewardship. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of the time, talents, and treasures God has given us. But before I share about stewardship, I actually want to rewind two weeks and start with justice.
It all started with a Bible Study we did over the story of David and Goliath. Basically, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, were at war with a group of people called the Philistines. Every day a Philistine champion, Goliath (a real monster of a man) approached the Israelite’s camp, mocked their God, and challenged the Israelites to send someone to fight him. Filled with fear, the Israelites refused to respond to Goliath for 40 days, though he stood in the valley just below them. Change only came when a young, Israelite shepherd named David entered the camp in order to bring supplies to his older brothers. David heard Goliath’s challenge and his taunts. Filled with a holy anger, David decided to fight Goliath despite having absolutely no military training. Using only tools common to his livelihood as a shepherd: a sling shot and a staff, David defeated Goliath with a single stone, all for the Glory of the God of Israel.
This passage is a powerful one, and on the day we studied it, our leader challenged us to interpret the passage a little differently…
The world is full of many injustices, or Goliaths. For a lot of people, myself included, it’s easy to behave like the Israelites: pretending not to hear or to see the ways people or even the earth itself are exploited. However, the response Jesus invites us into is that of David: to choose to HEAR injustice and respond for the glory of our God, depending on Him to equip us, knowing that He is the only hope for the world.
It’s in this awareness of injustice, and this subsequent call to respond that stewardship comes into play. In the midst of a world that is so broken God invites us to steward our time, talents, and treasures in a way that perpetuates His justice and glorifies His name.
Over the weekend my SAUP family and I learned more and more about injustices around the world and how we can steward our resources in a way that refuses to align with these worldly conditions. We particularly learned about the exploitation of labor in the fashion industry and the devastation of industrial farming through two powerful documentaries.
As a response to the exposition of these injustices, we received an introduction to the principals of LOGOFF. An acronym that stands for LOcal, Green, Organic, Fair, and Free, that is eating and partnering Locally and Organically, caring for the environment by living a Green lifestyle, and making economic decisions that support the Fair and Free treatment of individuals involved in a corrupt labor system. The LOGOFF principle also encouraged us to spend time in prayer for these areas, and be more aware and involved in the legislative policy that affects each of these areas. The reality is that there is a human cost at stake in each of these areas.
God is a God of justice and of love. And in these responses, more than anything, is simply a call to love Him and to love others. It’s not about a legalistic checklist of “how to live right,” but an invitation to steward God’s gifts to us (which is everything we have) well and with an open and loving heart. It’s a heart condition, not a superficial appearance.
It’s easy to choose into the Israelite mindset and refuse to hear the Goliaths that are constantly screaming around the world. But our God is worthy of trust, full of hope for the world, and able to conquer the most intimidating of obstacles. Our response should come from our hearts, overflowing with grace and gratitude for ourselves and those around us, as we strive to daily live a kingdom lifestyle.
God has blessed us with much. I pray both you and I would choose to be like David. To trust in God’s promises and His goodness, to hear the global cries of injustice, and to steward the resources He’s given us in a way that loves God and loves His children around the world.