Stewardship: it’s a word we use a lot when we’re talking about money and possessions. And often people interpret its meaning as simply taking good care of what we have or being frugal with money.
But stewardship means something far more radical than simple financial wisdom or careful living. It is a word and a concept built on the idea that what we have in our lives does not belong to us. We are caregivers, charged with responsibility and oversight. But we stand in place of the real owner, like managers who govern in place of a king. And a good steward never forgets who the real owner is.
In Christian theology, the king is, of course, God himself, and we are given the privilege of caring for his precious treasures in our short lives on this planet. In this worldview, stewardship isn’t just about money and material possessions. The idea of stewardship extends to people and relationships as well—it even extends to our role as parents.
Pressure to Worry
Parents naturally live as if our children belong to us, but they don’t—they belong to God. When we believe they belong to us, and their lives are entirely in our hands, we often find ourselves consumed with worry. And a worried mind is incompatible with the abundant life that God has called us to—guided by the Holy Spirit, joy-filled and at peace, ready to do his work, living for him and not ourselves or earthly attachments.
We have several reasons for worrying over our kids. Among them is cultural expectation: Good parents worry about their kids; that’s how we’re expected to show we care. If we don’t worry, many will assume we are apathetic and disengaged. So we worry that they’re not eating right, that they’re eating too much or too little, that they don’t have enough friends, that they have too many of the wrong friends, that they don’t have the right clothes or the right attitude. We worry that their grades aren’t high enough, that their backpacks are too heavy, that they aren’t having enough fun in school, that they have too much fun in school, that they don’t believe in themselves or they don’t appreciate the value of a dollar. We worry that they’re being bullied, they’re bullying someone else, they’re falling behind educationally (even when they’re preschoolers), they’re not being challenged, they will miss out on opportunities.