We western humans notice the speed with which we live our lives when we slow down a bit in summer months. On vacation, I notice that my driving improves, my calls to friends are longer and richly textured and my time with my dog Kai allows for Kai to express his kindness to me in ways which I often miss during the speed of life lived in the academic year. We think that we so value life and yet every day we speed our cars, late, on the way to meetings; risking our own lives and those of others. We westerners do not so value life as we value what we accomplish in life. That is what makes us so productive – and so pathologically narcissistic – and relatively rich. There is food on this planet for 8 billion, six are fed, one is starved and one (westerners, mostly) gorge on overabundance.
The stewardship of my life requires that I care for my daily moments. Today I put blueberries on my cereal before heading off to church (on vacation I go to a church two doors down from my home!) and as I tipped the bowl of blueberries, I noticed how lovely they were. I noticed that they were moist, and plump and that the pottery bowl I made in 2010 set the colors off nicely. I took a moment to consider the hands that had picked these blueberries (in this case I knew them – they were a gift from a friend) and I wondered what good things these blueberries would do inside my body. I wondered what I would use the calories for and if I would find, at the end of the day, that it had been a good choice. I wondered whom I would love today and it occurred to me that these small orbs of blue would fuel the physical hug, for friends tonight, which came with that love.
All of this happened in a matter of seconds. It was just a pause, like the one we take before choosing a chocolate or changing a television station. The pause was just long enough to be grateful that I had been granted another day and that God had chosen to provide the earth with blueberries and that my body was about to be nourished with them and that there was heavy cream in the larder …
Taking a moment to notice the wonderful of life is how we slow down our cars when we are late for a meeting because it is when we notice the lovely moments of life that we take more care of the other moments – the good ones, the sad ones, the sticky, uncomfortable ones.
Stewardship is not about giving our money away. Stewardship is about noticing that life has some wonderful moments and that they are a gift. The opposite of stewardship, as we use that word in churches, is not greed. The opposite of stewardship is entitlement.