Being a Keeper
Have you ever been asked to take care of something precious until the owner returned to reclaim it? I have! Perhaps you have been too. Essentially, I think we are all here ‘keeping’ something for Someone who will one day return. Let’s look at this further.
I remember very early in my teaching career, I wanted to launch out and occupy a house on my own. Previous to this, I lived with my parents and siblings, then with my aunt and her husband, and later in rented accommodation with others who were not related to me. I wanted to see what it would be like to manage on my own, be responsible for all bills, and have no one but myself to rely on. I eventually found a house available for rent. It had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining, and living room, and one bathroom. On the same compound was another larger house where the owner of the property lived. I met her once.
The Matter of Trust
At the time I met her, she seemed like a nice older lady and she seemed pleased with me and especially with the fact that I had a full-time job working as a teacher. I was shocked that she did not ask for references! I was thinking, this lady trusted me and so I should not disappoint her. She required the first month’s rent as well as a security deposit, which I paid. In return, she gave me a receipt for the payment and her bank details so I could deposit the money for the rent in her account on a monthly basis. It was then that she told me that she would be going abroad for a very long time. This lady really trusted me. I know I am an honest person, but I was really taken aback by this blind trust! How could I disappoint her and not put her money in her account? The property had nice fruit trees including one of my absolute favourites, tamarind, and a lovely vegetable patch. I was given free rein and I did not have to pay for anything I used. I was asked to contribute to the compost heap, plant anything I would use, and keep the yard clean. Certainly, I could do that!
A Good Steward
I enjoyed living in the home, putting my personal touch on things, and being faithful in depositing the rent into her account.
After a while, I noticed that a gentleman moved into the larger house. He introduced himself and told me the old lady had asked him to oversee things on her property until her return! So perhaps she didn’t trust me after all! Anyway, we got on really well and I continued to live in the house for about 2 years. I paid the rent every month into her account, and she has never had to ask him to remind me to pay the rent on any given month. I never saw her again! I think it is fair to say that in that case, I was a good steward!
Entrusting Others With Your Property
Fast forward a couple of years later and I bought myself a house quite near to this one. It was the first big asset I owned and it was very precious to me. I did everything to maintain my house so it would not run into disrepair. Once the utilities were switched on, I moved in and started working to extend and improve it! I answered a call to work overseas and jumped at the opportunity. The most major dilemma I faced was what to do with the house. I still had a big mortgage I was responsible for and so once I spent a few months in the overseas job and felt that I liked it sufficiently to remain in it for the foreseeable future, I had to seriously think about renting my home. It was not going to be viable on a long-term basis to pay rent for my apartment in this new country and also to pay the mortgage on my home in Jamaica, and I definitely did not want to risk losing it! It was my first big investment and I had improved it and furnished it at quite a hefty cost.
Again, The Matter of Trust!
It was then that I decided that renting it would be the best option going forward. My next dilemma was: who could I trust to manage it for me? I had family living there but the one I trusted was about to join me in this new ‘land of opportunity’. I had had enough experience to know there was no other family member I could trust. `i know, it’s a bad state of affairs. In summary, I eventually asked various people. For more than 2 years, I had no rent from the property. For a couple of months, I had less than the agreed rent. I came to find that sometimes the rent would be paid and the steward would take it for himself and report that the tenant had not paid. That hurt me so much! When I lived in that lady’s house, I dared not refuse to pay the rent! What would make me so brazen and brash to live in someone’s property and refuse to pay the rent? Some people!
The Christian World View on Stewardship
I hold to a Christian worldview that says that we all are stewards. Nothing here belongs to us. We brought nothing with us into this world. We will take nothing with us from this world. All the resources here: money, property, and everything else belong to God and He asks us to manage until He returns. We are allowed to use as much as we want but we are tasked to use wisely so that we do not risk putting into jeopardy the sustenance of future generations. Yes, sometimes I tend not to remember that I am a steward and I hold on to things or misuse things. If we consider ourselves as being stewards, rather than owners then I think the way we manage things will be better, the Owner will be proud of us and we would be proud of ourselves knowing that we managed this well. We should use what we need, give to those who need and cannot work or do not work enough, live sustainably and have a positive mindset about money and other possessions.
What is your view on the matter? Have you had any experience similar to this? I would love to hear it! Let us know what you think in the comment section below.