For Such A Time As This: Stewarding Our Relationship With Our Neighbor
In this blog series I am announcing the upcoming launch of the Steward Manifesto. Four writing teams comprised of twenty people have been working for over a year creating a document that we pray will be “a call to our brothers and sisters to reclaim our calling to be stewards of our identity, an identity that is being attacked, confused, and distorted.”
My prayer is that you will engage with this document as we prepare to finalize it on September 9th as part of our annual Steward Summit. You are also warmly invited to attend the Summit and be present for this historic moment (Register Here).
We opened the document by laying the theological foundation based on our four created relationships: with God, with self, with others, and with creation.
The third main section of the Steward Manifesto focuses on stewarding our relationship with our neighbor. The section opens with these words:
We were created to be faithful stewards, including our relationship with our neighbor. We do not own this relationship but steward it on behalf of the one who created us for it. Humanity is created to live and flourish in relationship with one another. God’s Kingdom is a community – a body. Stewards are called to create community, protect their community, and care for their community. Moving out from our relationship with God and our self we embrace our relationships with everyone as precious gifts. When we are tempted to follow false narratives about the value of human life, we cannot faithfully steward those relationships. Instead, we attempt to own and control our relationships with others, buying into the lies that only divide and isolate us.
We follow this introduction by naming the lies that tempt us to approach our relationship with others from an ownership perspective. The lies include the denial that sin is at the heart of all that divides us, that relationships must serve our own happiness, and that meaningful relationships can be made without sacrifice, repentance, and grace.
Having named the lies, we proclaim the truths in Scripture that we honor God by loving our neighbor, that we bless others only as we steward our relationships for God’s glory, and that only Christ can set us free to truly love our neighbor.
We end this section by calling the body of Christ to preach against the sin that divides us, to be the loudest voices seeking justice and reconciliation, and to pray for the restoration of true relationships that can bring revival and transformation.
Our prayer is that God may use these statements to help God’s people steward every relationship and truly love our neighbor to the glory of God.
How about you? Who or what is shaping your identity, your self-worth? If it is anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ, how will you reclaim your true identity in him today? And how might God use you to help others do the same, leading to reconciliation, restoration, and hope?
Steward your relationship with your self today and watch God work in and through you in ways that impact everything else in your life. John states it clearly, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). And Paul reminds us, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to Go” (2 Corinthians 5:20).