“We are created to infect and infiltrate culture, restoring and reclaiming what is God’s.”
— Jefferson Bethke | Jesus > Religion
How much do you believe this statement? Do you believe you were created to INFECT and INFILTRATE culture? Do you believe you were created to RESTORE and RECLAIM what is God’s? And while we’re on that topic, what exactly IS God’s?
I’ve been watching the “Quarter Life Crisis” series hosted by The Porch (a young adults ministry in the way-less-cooler-than-Houston city of Dallas). Before you ask, yes that parenthetical statement was absolutely necessary. I encourage you to check it out (the series, not Dallas)! It’s been a huge eye opener for me in terms of how I’m living my life as a twenty-something year old in this weird, in-between stage of life.
I’ve also been working on finishing up Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. You should check that out too, by the way. I keep coming across a single topic through my readings and series-watching: Stewardship. What does that even mean?
Steward: someone who manages another’s property and seeks to manage that property according to the owner’s vision and values.
— Adam Tarnow | 1/4 Life Crisis #2
Now let’s circle back to that first statement and work backwards: “We are created to infect and infiltrate culture, restoring and reclaiming what is God’s.”
What IS God’s? In short, EVERYTHING. I mean, I could list it all out for you but then there would be no end to this post.
Do we truly believe that EVERYTHING is His? Do we truly understand what that even means? Every creature, every sunset, every raindrop, every molecule, every atom is HIS. Everything we see before us and everything we can’t see (Colossians 1:16). Everything in us and everything we have. It all belongs to Him. And if everything belongs to Him, then what belongs to us?
Nothing we “have” is ours, y’all. We don’t own time. Money does not belong to us. Energy is not ours. The talents and skills we exercise – yeah, those don’t belong to us either. Sure we “have” them, we “possess” them – but God’s got the patent out on all of this! It’s HIS, y’all. We’ve simply been entrusted with His property. He has granted us the honor of stewardship.
…A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
Guys, this changes things. This is a huge shift in a perspective. And we have to RUN with it and CLING to it and always REMEMBER it. All that we “have” is His. He has entrusted us to manage His property and according to His vision and values.
What an incredible honor! What a blessing! What a loving God we have! That the Creator of the universe who owns EVERYTHING would allow us to be in charge of managing His stuff – AKA: EVERYTHING. He doesn’t need our skill or advice. But He grants us this opportunity to serve Him. He bestows us with honor. He brings us into the fold, into the family business! Seriously though, how cool is that! We’re basically trust fund babies. The richest of riches await us! And it’s all freely entrusted to us by our Father, Owner of all – not to own, not to squander, but to steward.
So if everything is His, and if He has named us stewards of all that belongs to Him, what does that mean for us?
What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
1 Corinthians 4:7b
It means we stop boasting in ourselves. It means we stop being self-obsessed. It means we stop robbing God of the glory that belongs to Him. It means we stop foolishly acting like we own everything that we have only, in actuality, been entrusted with. It means instead of allowing greed and discontentment to plague our hearts, we would allow generosity to flow through us. It means we would stop complaining about what we lack, stop whining about our struggles, and push through with thankful hearts.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
It means we would raise open hands to our Lord – not clenched fists. It means we would thank Him for this stewardship, praise Him for His blessings, and lay it all back down at His feet. It means we would be like the first two servants mentioned in Matthew 25:14-30, who received five and two talents.
Understand that God owns it all – not figuratively, but very, very literally.
Y’all. I’m saying it again: This changes things.
We are created to infect and infiltrate culture, restoring and reclaiming what is God’s. We are purposed to restore and reclaim what is His. That is our duty as His stewards. And how do we do that? By infiltrating culture. Just like Jesus did.
Jesus was a radical! He threw cultural norms out the window on a daily basis. He didn’t allow them to confine His ministry or limit His influence. I believe He expects the same of us. Whether we’re talking about Indian culture, church culture, or world culture, the same is true: We were created to break through the walls keeping people from knowing Him. It’s easy to become complacent. It’s easy to justify lack of action by blaming it on a too-far-gone society, a too-far-gone church, a too-far-gone community. But Christ didn’t call us to a life of ease.
“And He redeemed us that we might turn around and continue His redemptive work in all these other areas. We are created to cultivate, not just talk about religious things all day.”
— Jefferson Bethke | Jesus > Religion
We are created to infect and infiltrate culture, restoring and reclaiming what is God’s. The challenge of this statement can be summarized in a single phrase: ministry of reconciliation. That is what we’ve been called to. That is what we’ve been purposed for. We are stewards of the Most High God, Creator of the Universe, and we have been tasked with the ministry of reconciliation. Is there any greater honor? You can climb right up to the pinnacle of the corporate ladder, but your title will never hold the honor found here: Steward of Jesus Christ.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:11-20a
Fellow Stewards of Jesus Christ, my prayer is that we would understand the honor we have in being entrusted with the family business. My prayer is that we would stop pointing at ourselves and start pointing to Him. My prayer is that we would quit robbing our great God of the glory due His name, and start laying all that we have been entrusted with at His feet, for His glory. My prayer is that we would do justice to the calling He has given us as His stewards.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.