I was rather proud of myself on Sunday. I made it through the entire worship service without asking for prayer for my hometown Steelers even once! And they still won the game. Go figure.
Relationships run deep, even when we don’t realize it. Many of us who are transplants are still held by memories of our hometowns and our friends like tendrils from a vine. They call us back to special times and events in our lives. Those of you who are natives in the area—and I realize you are in the majority—have your own “tendrils” that call you back to the Greenfield you knew as a child, wistful memories that are often polished up and shine a little brighter than they actually did when they happened.
Our Sunday school class has been studying the Purpose Driven Life, and this past Sunday we talked about life as a “trust.” Scripture passages abound urging us to recognize our responsibility as stewards of God’s creation. In every situation, we are reminded that nothing in our lives is trivial. In God’s kingdom, each decision we make has ramifications and results that can affect our lives and others.
We are called to be stewards of many things—money, homes, possessions—but we rarely think of relationships. There are many ways to be good, or not-so-good, stewards of our relationships.
Jesus calls us to speak the truth to others, to “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’” (Matthew 5:37). Whether in business, in the community, or in the family, as Christians we are called to a higher standard, one that demands honesty in our words and actions.
A good steward of relationships who speaks the truth in love for another’s benefit will receives a reward. Paul taught us, “. . . speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Growing in faith requires discipline in our approach to others. We are called to temper our “truth” with compassion for the hearer, but to speak the hard words nonetheless.
What is the “truth” Paul is talking about? The gospel of Jesus Christ, of course! A good steward of relationships has concern for those who either don’t know Christ or the joy and peace that comes from that relationship. We are called to speak the words of truth to others. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:15,16).
When we examine the tendrils of our lives, I hope Jesus will be able to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things!”
Pastor Mary Kay Glunt
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church