Family Values - Stewardships

“It all belongs to God”

The above is frequently said to us by Master Lim, our Korean Martial Arts instructor. Master Lim is Presbyterian, but the above is a sentiment shared by many faiths and churches. And it is a belief of our family.

We are but stewards over God’s property. Each person reading this has their own God-given stewardship, and each of us will remain stewards over our stewardships for as long as God wishes, according to God’s pleasure. He is testing us, to see if we will use our stewardships for the benefit of all of His children, and not for just some select group. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11-16).

Bountiful Baby is a stewardship given by God to the Pratt family, and sustained by the people that it benefits (our customers). It is temporary, because everything eventually returns to the dust. If it has no value to the people, it should go away and be replaced by something that delivers value. But if it has value to the people (the customers), it should be sustained in proportion to the value it delivers to them.

I have tried to teach our children that we have responsibilities to everyone on earth, and not to just a select few. The amount of responsibility differs depending on the relationship of that person/people to ourselves— for example, our responsibility to our children is greater than our responsibility to, say, a vendor in China. But we still have responsibilities to everyone on earth, and we should strive to make life better for everyone we come in contact with, if we possibly can. That is the only way to manage God’s stewardship in a way pleasing to Him. We are all God’s children.

I teach my children that as they go their way throughout each day, they will cross stewardship boundaries where there is a different stewardship and a different steward within that boundary. And I will say that if they don’t believe that, then maybe they should get into their car and act like they own the road and see how far they get (they won’t get far). Or maybe they should go into Walmart and act like they own the store and see how far they get (again, they won’t get far). Or walk into their neighbor’s home and act like they own it and see how far they get (and yet again, they won’t get far).

The existence of separate stewardships, separate stewards, and separate stewardship boundaries seems so obvious to me that quite frankly I would question the sanity of anyone that disagreed. You don’t own everything around you, nor are you the steward of everything around you. You are the steward ONLY of the little portion that God has granted to you. Nothing more.

I tell my children that they need to strive to do three things regarding each stewardship they encounter throughout their day:

  1. Strive to identify the appropriate stewardship boundary for that stewardship.
  2. Strive to identify the proper steward of that stewardship.
  3. When they find themselves operating within the boundaries of that stewardship, strive to please the God-appointed steward of that stewardship in everything regarding that stewardship. And if they don’t want to do that, then the only honorable thing they can do is remove themselves from that stewardship boundary, and go someplace else.

It is my opinion that failure to identify the stewardship boundaries in the same way that God sees those boundaries is the single greatest cause of human conflict and human misery throughout the history of mankind. It is that important to get it right. And it’s not always easy to get it right. We will make mistakes. We will be wrong.

In the first person present tense, nobody ever believes they are wrong. Nobody ever says “this idea is wrong, but I believe it anyway”. The moment you decide it was wrong, it moves to the past tense, as something that you believed in once, but no longer believe. A person might decide that they were wrong on something before, but in the present tense of now, they always believe they are right. Everyone. All the time.

And that is scary. It has led me to conclude that the only way to make progress in life is to put our faith in God, and rely on Him to help us. We can’t do it by ourselves.

Nevin Pratt

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