The very first thing the Lord gave you to steward was you.
Let me say that again. The very first thing the Lord gave you to steward was you. Before family, job, finances, community, those in need ... everything... there was just you and God. You are so important to Him that he loved you into being.
So on this day the internet has set aside each week to look back, I invite you to take a good look at you. Not in the mirror, not in photographs, and certainly not on social media, but deep inside in that place without artifice or judgment where your soul dwells at peace with God and no one else has the key. A prayerful look at you. Here we go.
On the first day, in the beginning of that beautiful, perfect creation that is you, it was full of hope. But you were also vulnerable and not yet tested. Take a moment to be grateful for the life God created in you on that first day.
As you grew, your body began to learn how make its way -- walking, talking, eating, and drinking. And your heart began to give itself to others -- mother, father, friends, and pets. Your mind began to take in the world around it -- home, sky, plants, and animals. Wonder, and God, were everywhere. Take a moment to be grateful for the child God created in you, and which you stewarded unknowingly before you knew what the word steward was. Take a moment to be grateful for the other stewards, parents and other family members, who brought you through your childhood, caring for you throughout those lighthearted days.
Then the world began to crowd in, sparkly but jealous. You didn't think much of your body, no consequences to your actions yet. Your heart was in full throttle now, easily given and easily taken back, small scars forming now and again. Your mind was gripped in the factory of education, racing to a finish which was not always clear. You may be there now. If so, be present and be a good steward. Recognize God is with you. If you aren't there now, you were at one time, so take a moment to be grateful for the youth God created in you, and which you stewarded into adulthood, maneuvering temptation and folly but experiencing much laughter and joy.
Next the world opened up, but it was heavy and often seemed too much with you. Your body went on the back burner because now there were other bodies to steward. Your heart was alternately full and aching, the scars were permanent now but not always painful. Your mind was filled with so many things it was hard to turn it off. You may be there now. If so, be present and be a good steward. Recognize God is with you. If you aren't there yet, wait for it patiently, don't rush God. If you were there at one time, take a moment to be grateful for the adult God created in you, and which you stewarded into the empty nest or middle years, sighing with the relief of children grown or careers forged.
After that the world seemed quite bright and almost new, although you could now recognize the dark corners you didn't notice before. Your body was likely in disarray, years away from that clean and easy leanness. But it was also tough as nails, and strong as steel. It had borne all the experiences of your life thus far, bent but unbroken, or at least not completely broken. Your heart had seen a lot too, it had been stretched to breaking but also expanded around so many others who had come through your life and left their mark in one way or another. And you could look inward at those scars with no regret or bitterness now because there had been so much more love than you ever thought possible. Your mind was mature and confident, keeping all those lessons close, and ready to share them with others. You may be there now. If so, be present and be a good steward. Recognize God is with you. If you aren't there yet, wait for it patiently, don't rush God. If you were there at one time, take a moment to be grateful for the mature person God created in you, and which you stewarded into the end of life, solidly standing, a worn exterior burnished beautiful by life, and holding deep inside that lovely child who began so new.
At last the world seems distant and hazy. Your body may be weak by age or sickness, and yearns for healing. Your heart encompasses the love and loss of a lifetime, and yearns for reunion. Your mind may be showing signs of dislodging from the present and the familiar, and yearns for home. Others will begin to steward you when you can no longer steward yourself. You may be there now. If so, allow God to bring a new steward to you. Recognize God is with you. If you aren't there yet, pray that grace will bring you through it, and trust that God is always the best steward.
The very first thing the Lord gave you to steward was you. Be grateful for the days behind you, the days which created you, and look forward to the days ahead with hope and joy. Be a good steward to you. This allows you the strength and suppleness to steward all those other wonderful or challenging things and people God has placed in your life. Being a good steward to yourself, done to its fullest extent, makes you the saint God created you to be. It extends avocation into vocation, leader into servant leader, desire into action, vanity into wellness, and most of all, you as the world would have you into you as God wills.
The very first thing the Lord gave you to steward was you. Make it count. After your faith, it's the first and best gift you can give Him and yourself.
"The glory of God is a human being truly alive." -- St. Irenaeus
"It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives." -- Thomas Merton