A couple of weeks ago I was watching some family members play a game of chess. I used to play well, but these days I am not much competition for a good player. As I was watching it struck me how a good game of chess is similar to a good life of stewardship.
First of all, you have to watch the moves that are happening right now. What are my assets (queen, rook, pawn) and are they in the best position to help me do what I want to do? Then, you need to be working out several moves down the road—in other words, what is my long-range plan. Sometimes you have to defend your assets. Sometimes you have to risk advancing and attacking. Keeping all this in balance is a strong mental challenge. Then when your opponent moves, you have to adjust the plan again to accommodate the new scenario.
Stewardship is not that different. We have a goal and mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We assess our assets (time, talent, treasure) and put them in the best place for doing that. Financially, we have to be both defensive and not do anything that would be devastating, but also go on offense and use our money to advance the mission.
Then, life changes. A new baby is born. A job is lost. An inheritance falls into our lap. A disability comes along. An opportunity arises. As faithful followers of Jesus, we have been faithful to stick to a plan of giving and serving, but now we may have to defend for a while, or blessedly be given the opportunity to risk more—and ultimately help the Kingdom receive a greater reward.
Unlike chess, no matter how well or poorly we play the game, at the end we are winners. We may be tattered a bit, but Christ is our reward for living as Christ. So, the key is to play the best we can, play faithfully, enjoy the game, and put our pieces in the best place for victory—because it is coming!
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana