September 29, 2023
I used the word Stewardship in yesterday’s Etching, and though a lot of folks have some basic definition, it is one of those sort of ‘churchy’ words that may not necessarily have anything to do with a church’s financial budget. We are all stewards of the resources entrusted to us. Some of us are really good stewards of those resources, and others find it a bit more challenging. Of course, even the word ‘good’ is subjective. It really depends on your starting place and what you consider to be of utmost value. Of course, what we claim our values to be and how we embody those values may not always align. Fear, insecurity, unexpected crises, etc. can always blur how we manifest those values, especially in regard to how we steward our resources. Today, I want to think about what good stewardship of our time might look like.
In our current culture, in way too many settings, exhaustion is a badge of honor. Crazy work hours are the norm, and so often we respond to the question, "How are you?" by saying, "I am feeling slammed as the inbox is a mile high." That’s not to suggest the person is speaking half-truth, but it’s too bad that those kinds of responses tend to be the first thing that comes to mind. Or maybe we just assume that’s the expectation. If you’re not constantly weary, you must not be working too hard.
At the same time, the average American watches 150 hours of TV every month. That’s a lot of TV, and though I do not believe a little TV is bad (I watch TV while I’m on the stationary bike in the morning, and usually a football game each week in season), the average American does not volunteer even one full hour/week. It’s close, but not quite one full hour. That statistic stirs my imagination in regard to what would happen if the average American would take five of those TV hours every month and give them to something good and life-giving and hope-sharing. We are talking about reducing our TV watching hours from 150 to 145/month, so probably not a noticeable difference. And maybe you’ll get a bit more sleep. But those five extra hours per month would take the average American over two hours per week. Think about the impact that ever-so-small change could have on the world.
It’s really about asking ourselves what it means to be a good steward of all our resources, including the resource of time.
Continue to show me, Merciful God, where my gifts can meet the needs of humanity. And where I have tried to find my identity by overworking myself or by losing myself in streaming another episode, I pray for your Spirit to help me to be a better steward of the time I have been given. It is truly a gift that I desire to give away. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge