In serfdoms, feudal farmworkers have a duty to obey landowners. A serf is enslaved and his “duty” is imposed by his social situation. Christians are similarly subservient, but in contrast we choose to enslave ourselves by our own will.
Like the championed serf, we also have a duty to obedience. Unlike the powerless serf, we also have a real obligation to stewardship. Stewardship is the responsibility to utilize and maximize what we get and have.
Obedience and stewardship often are in contention with each other.
With obedience, we are required to respond to opportunities without question or hesitation. For example, if a person is in need and we have the resources to help them, we are to reach out and give them the glass of water appropriate for remedy.
With stewardship, we are required to safeguard resources, maximizing their temporal application. For example, if a person is in need and we have the resources to help them, we are to consider the application of materials to best serve their use.
Do you see?
On one hand we are to help without question – God says jump and we jump. On the other hand we aren’t to help without questions. Should we give a dollar to the homeless guy on the corner or should we question if he’s homeless from poor life choices? This lack clarity is directly related to the clarity of God’s voice in your life.
When we give without thinking, are we dishonoring stewardship? When we fail to give by questioning resource application, are we failing to obey? This obvious contention is only an illusion, as there is no contention in God’s perfect will.
One thing I do know, there was a time in college when things were far more black and white than the grayscale world I live in today.