During our fifth week of SAUP, we learned about stewardship, examining how we can use the possessions, money, gifts, abilities, time, and vocation God has given us to love others and bring Him glory. It was both exciting and challenging to learn about some practical steps we could take to respond to injustice and seek God’s kingdom.
Shortly after our first talk on stewardship, I called my mom and sister who asked me about my laptop password. They had just arrived at my sister’s new student orientation for college and wanted to use my laptop for my sister to register for classes. My first instinct was to feel upset — that was my laptop and they had taken it without asking. Instead, thinking about what we had just learned, I stopped to remember this was God’s laptop. Once I had reframed my attitude, I was able to be thankful that God had blessed me with a laptop and that I was able to bless my sister by sharing it with her. It was hard realizing that my gut reaction when it comes to my stuff is often “that’s mine!” and it can be challenging to start looking at my life and saying “that’s God’s.” But when I remember God’s provision and love for me, and seek first his kingdom, I can shift from being self-centered to others-centered, being generous with what God has entrusted me.
One way I learned I can be more others-centered is in the clothes and food I buy. I love finding good deals. But I had never considered that there was a cost beyond the price tag. During the week, we learned about injustice in the fashion industry and how the demand for low priced clothing results in many workers making extremely low wages and working in unsafe conditions. We also learned about sustainability, and the impact our lifestyle choices can have on the environment. These weren’t issues that I wasn’t very aware of or cared much about before. But when I looked beyond how my actions impacted myself, I saw how they impacted other people. God calls us to love our neighbors. That could mean purchasing fair trade clothing to support fair wages for garment factory workers, or buying organic food and taking shorter showers to help conserve the world for the next generation. Remembering I am a steward of what God has given me, and remembering the incredible love God has for me and for this world, I can choose to use my resources in ways that love Him and love others.