When I was a younger man, I was ordained. Part of the process is the formal (and public) answering of the historic Wesleyan questions to candidates for ministry. One of those questions is, “Are you going on to perfection?”
As I think back on 40 years of ministry, I can say that I have had a lot of “going on” and not so much “perfection.” I understand that perfection is better understood as being perfected in love, and intention, rather than never making a mistake. It is living like Christ until I become more like Christ. Still, it is an elusive target. It takes time. It takes work. It takes going on.
Stewardship is also a life of going on. It is living the habits of stewardship until we have the heart of a steward. It is using our talents until we don’t feel like they are “our” talents anymore—they are part of God. It is giving our money and resources enough times, and with enough sacrifice, that we hardly realize that joy and generosity have crept into our heart and exploded. It is using our time in such a way that time feels like part of eternity, and that we have all the time in the world—because we do.
We never reach perfection as a steward, at least the way most of us think of perfection. We will never be without mistake, or always attaining the goals we seek. However, a life of going on can, and will, shape us into perfect people, with hearts and minds that have become tuned to the miracle of grace, and how we are part of it, both as receiver and giver. We can be stewards in the best and biblical sense of that word—living on behalf of another and finding our whole selves in doing so.
Live well. Live in God. Live as a steward. Perfection is closer than you imagine.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana