STEWARDSHIP is a classic life principle that never gets old. The weight of its plausibility could still make it one of the top 21st-century life skills, especially during these challenging times. Richard Worrel proposed a definition of this principle as the responsible use (including conservation) of natural resources in a way that takes full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations, and other species, as well as of private needs, and accepts significant answerability to society.” Hugh Whelchel added that this is “where the concepts of faith, work, and economics intersect.”
Many organizations understood the wisdom behind this principle. They realized that they are not limited to only mind their businesses but to go to the other stakeholders in the society that directly or indirectly affect their operations. This act of care is explicitly expressed to the other stakeholders of the society, thus the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR). As a former marketing communication specialist, I assisted my former company in its ‘Adopt-a-School Program’ and made sure that the presence of our brand is felt by the community it serves. Many known brands practice this on a much bigger and wider scale to achieve the same purpose.
However, taking this at a personal level is another story. This pandemic has taken away so much from us—our freedom to go out and physically be with family, our financial security, our health, and even the very lives of those whom we love. The feelings of uncertainty, doubts, and discouragement creep in. Undeniably, when we are pushed at the edge of our ropes, these valid feelings blur our vision to see the potential of the remaining seeds in our hands. Somehow we are caught up in the inevitable intersection of sulking in our fears or to move on, accept this reality and decide to maximize whatever we have on our plate at the moment.
The principle of stewardship is something real to me. I came to understand that at the end of our race in life, we will not be evaluated on the number of resources that we have but how we steward the resources entrusted (both people and things) alike. Central to the practice of this principle is the ‘steward’ whom researchers Idowu et.al described as someone who “takes on the responsibility of caring for something on behalf of another person or group of people.” Reading this reminded me of a conference I attended in Cebu. I happened to hear a line from one of the speakers who said, “Everything starts from a single seed. Many of us would want to experience the sweet taste of victory but neglect the process of taking good care of that seed.” I couldn’t agree more.
Should we choose to move and decide to take this direction, we need to ask ourselves, ‘how can I be a good steward of my resources?”
First, let’s accept that we are only stewards not owners. There is a huge difference in how we manage these assets if we think as managers or administrators only acting on their behalf. I agree with Peel’s words when he said, “While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.”. One day, we will give an account of how we took care of these things and we will be rewarded according to our level of stewardship. At this time of the pandemic, we are easily swayed by fears and emotions that go with it. Sometimes, we are slowly drifting from the more important things in life. I desire that when my time comes to leave this temporary world, I will wake up and hear these words from My Maker and the Owner of all things, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! This line from the Scriptures also happened to be my life verse. When life storms surge, I will always go back to this.
Second, let’s identify our most essential resources and do a self-evaluation on how we are handling them. It will not hurt if we do a little self-assessment on this. This may confront us and may cause a little discomfort but it will all be worth the time and humility. At this point in our lives, we need to choose the right ones because we only have limited time and energy especially now that we are being drained of our hope and
Strength by the effects of the pandemic. Choose wisely and begin to focus on them. Banking on this principle, I began to look inward and shift my gaze to my essential priorities which include my faith, my personal life, my family, my ministry, and my job. I became sober during my deep reflections as I was seeing gaps in how I was handling each priority. The most important part is acceptance of our current condition and the decision to say on track.
Lastly, just do it. We may be hampered with overthinking and suck out the remaining motivations but let’s push it. We may start taking baby steps at first but once we take that bold step, surely we will get into the momentum. We should also make space for countless blunders and hopefully we will be patient in the whole process. I am grateful for deep moments of reflection. I just stop, introspect and enjoy the quiet moments. While doing it, I was reminded by these words, “never get tired of doing what is good for in due time we will reap whatever we have sown whether good or bad.”
Tinay is an associate professor in Communication at the Ateneo de Davao University. She graduated with a doctorate degree in Communication at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU). She is one of the pioneering members of the Media Educators of Mindanao (MEM) and the discipline representative for Communication of the Council of Educators of Deans for Arts and Sciences (CEDAS) in Region XI. More than an educator, she is a loving wife, a hands-on- mom to two kids, a worship minister, and a life coach handling a network of women’s life groups since 2011.
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