OK. What's that mean and what in the world is it doing here?
Exactly what I and others thought at the excellent seminar on Stewardship given by representatives of the Stewardship Committee of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in St. Louis recently.
Now, in my former life, I've been to lots of "stewardship" workshops ... and, as I remember, almost all of them -- maybe all of them -- ended up with one bottom line: $money$. In fact, I remember doodling at some of them $teward$ship. Bucks. Get in your wallet. And they always left a bad taste in my mouth: if I used any of that which was given, I modified it greatly, for a steward is never just a wallet.
However, this seminar, given by three Orthodox layment was over the top ... that is, it was excellent, far exceeding anything I've ever experienced.
It was about Salvation. It was centered in the Holy Trinity. It exuded the love of Christ. It talked seriously about issues that do confront every community. It encouraged healthy servant leadership.
I'm going to guess that most folks, when they think of stewardship, think first, foremost, and only about money (or they have in the past). NOBODY volunteers, it seems, for the "stewardship committee" for EVERYONE it seems, thinks only in terms of bucks. And so, because it is centered on bucks, stewardship is passed over, done in the easiest way possible with a letter or the annual quest for the "pledge" and then forgotten. It is often done in this (wrong) way in the most impersonal fashion .... right?
But being a steward of God's gifts isn't just about money at all! It is about every moment of life, life given by the Lover of Mankind. It is about service, sacrifice -- it is about salvation, yours and mine. And, it is very, very personal.
The mob was wrong.
Now, what does that mean?
Think about the mobster movies: the thug is about to get rid of someone, and the line is more often than not, "This isn't personal -- it's business"
Our life together in Christ is not centered in dollars, budgets, mere body counts: it isn't "just business" (although one gets that impression sometimes) but it is very personal. Think of Christ our God, for whom your salvation is never "business." It is always very personal. And our life together in our community needs always be personal as does our love for all those around.
In an impersonal world, those in whom Christ lives are very personal, and they see in each person around them, the image of Christ, the potential for life in Christ now and to the ages of ages.
Yes, the mob was wrong.
(Oh, the money stuff was mentioned, but in a refreshing way,... maybe we'll talk about that another time)