Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. — Psalm 128:1-2
Fear, faith and stewardship. Three things that go together. And it isn’t because you can have faith that any talk of stewardship will create fear in the hearers! These three seemingly unique topics go together because they flow from the same source — the Lord Himself.
Created by God, the steward is accountable. This accountability was originally without fear. The steward worked and kept (Genesis 2:15) the creation called into existence by the Lord. That arrangement lasted until sin came into the equation. Then fear came with it. Adam and Eve hid from their accountability in fear of the Lord. To fail as a steward in this way deserves death. From that moment on, as stewards they would never fully measure up. Death is the lasting legacy.
Until Jesus! When the simple gift of Jesus is offered in the babe of Bethlehem and the Christ of the cross, fear gives way to faith. Jesus took accountability for our failed stewardship and we were restored. Baptized into Christ, the Holy Spirit creates faith which leads to a restoration of faithful stewardship! Set on this new path the steward’s accountability is balanced between fear and faith. We know that we are accountable to live and work for the Lord. When we succeed, it is to God’s credit. When we fail, our faith in Christ leads us to confession and absolution, which once again sets us on the path of faithful stewardship.
This use of God’s simple gifts is captured in the words of the psalmist. Fear of the Lord leads to work. Work leads to blessing. Faith sees this blessing as a gift from God. The baptized steward sees this and clearly confesses that it is indeed well with us. May the Lord lead us to this triune stewardship of His simple gifts!
©2019 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Used with permission.