Before leaving, my aunt said, "make sure you share." "I will," I said as I picked up the plate of freshly made cookies from scratch.
Everyone in town referred to my aunt as "Aunt Rosie." She was known far and wide for her made-from-scratch homemade cooking. I loved going over to her house every morning to see what she might whip up. Today, she made cookies. She sent them back over to grandma's with instructions to make sure I shared with my brother and cousins. I was entrusted to get the cookies back over to grandma's safely. I had already had some cookies right out of the oven, so I knew how good they were.
In a way, I was a steward, entrusted with the gift of cookies. They were not for me alone, but also for my brother and my cousins. (My sister had not been born yet)
As I reflect on the principle of stewardship, it strikes me that I, like so many others think primarily in terms of material things. There is my house, my car, my money, and a host of other things that God has entrusted to me to share and use for his purposes. There is also my time which God wants me to share as well. But then there is this passage:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort" (2 Cor 1:3-7).
Wow, so we are also stewards of the comfort we receive in Christ. We receive comfort so that we can comfort others. Nothing our Lord does for us is strictly for our benefit. To think otherwise is more a product of our cultural way of thinking than of sound, biblical theology. We can see this exemplified most prominently in Christ. God raised him from the dead (Col 2:12) not just for his benefit, but for the benefit of the world (1 Cor 15).
When we were raised with Christ to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4), it is not just for our benefit but for the benefit of the world (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47; Acts 1:8; Jn 20:21; 1 Tim 3:15). So when God comforts us, brings us through a difficulty, restores life and vitality, etc., we have stewardship of that restoration. We are not merely to receive it, but to use it to minister to others. In this way, it becomes an even greater blessing, just as God intends.