Stewardship of Family
Most often, we stress the importance of stewardship of the great gifts of God’s material world, but which of God’s gifts is greater than family?
We are stewards of our siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and more. We are called to encourage and support our family members to grow in the faith. We are also called to encourage and support them in developing their God-given gifts and talents to the full for the glory of God.
As our role within our family evolves, we become stewards of the authority and influence which we hold in the family. A spouse or parent with authority must also relate to family members with respect and humility. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21). St. Paul further instructs us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (5:25). And in Colossians 3:21, St. Paul instructs, “Parents, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Throughout our lives and the roles we assume within the family, we are stewards of the love, authority, trust and respect that exist among members of the family. Unlike material possessions, these are not diminished by use. But if mishandled, they can be lost. Love, authority, trust and respect require the most diligent stewardship, because once they are lost, they are most difficult to recover.
The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great includes beautiful silent prayers expressing the Church’s concern for the family: “…remember, Lord, the people here present and those that are absent with good cause. Have mercy on them and on us according to the multitude of your mercy, fill their store-houses with every good thing; maintain their marriage-bonds in peace and concord; nurture the infants; instruct the young, strengthen the aged, encourage the faint-hearted, gather together again those that are scattered; bring back those who went astray and unite them to Your holy, catholic and apostolic church; defend the widows; protect the orphans...”
As Orthodox Christians, we are also stewards of our Church family – those with whom we worship, fellowship and serve the community. In the same way that we care for our immediate family, we also care for our Christian brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.
Often in life, we pursue and collect those things that do not last. We must ask, “One hundred years from now, where will our possessions be?”
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