I write this in my dimly lit bedroom mere moments before I will settle into bed and open the current novel I find myself plowing through. Is there anything so lovely as an artistic, poetic rant? I happen to think not.
This will be more of a word vomit than anything.
Consider yourself warned.
Reader, I will ask a question.
Why do we find ourselves so concerned with our production? We want purpose, we want to contribute, we want something. We find within ourselves this unexplainable desire to create. To make. To produce.
And we try. We try horribly, deliciously hard—working ourselves to the bone and keeping our eyes on that light at the end of the tunnel: the end result. We keep our eyes on the reward of our backbreaking, pain-inducing, maddening ideas to make something of our existence: to justify the reality that we take up space in a world full of horrible things.
Then the light floods our eyes and we come to the end. Our labors come to the close and we may rest in the full knowledge that we have contributed, we have created, we have made. We have succeeded.
Why? Why do we drive ourselves mad with our schemes and our plans and our wild exchanges and our pursuits of love and the chasing of our dreams and the wild quests for truth?
Because we are stewards.
A steward. A keeper. A gardener. A fosterer. A nurturer. A striver. A looker-after. We all have something in our lives that demands our attention, our love, our hope. We can’t turn away from it for even a moment, for if we do, we shall burst with the weight of its neglect! To neglect it is to neglect oneself.
And in that light of day at the end of the tunnel—when the labor is finished—I have tears of combustible joy on my face and fiery torrents of unworthiness in my heart. I fall on my knees, my arms open wide, and in that moment I realize that I have been entrusted with something. I reach toward the cloud-speckled heaven with my dirty hands and let the sun hit my cheeks, because God trusts me enough with something I don’t even trust myself with.
He trusts me with my life.
Existence. Breath. Life. Air. Oxygen. Light in my eyes.
How am I supposed to answer for this? How am I supposed to respond to the music that calls me toward heaven, that offers me stewardship on earth, that beckons me towards a calling that I did not dream possible?
Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in very little, you shall have authority.
Good servant? Faithful?
Yes, that is what I shall be.
I shall serve. I shall love. I shall stand here in Your Presence, oh Hope of my Salvation, and I will love. I will be faithful in the little things and shall bring to your holy, beautiful face the brightest, most radiant of smiles.
I shall love you and those who bear your image—all seven billion of them that walk across the face of this planet! I shall write for them. I shall make them feel with the words of my pen, and I will create works of such beauty that they will see Your face in all I do.
But oh! What of the darker times? You know: the times when we come to that light of completion and find it only black and festering with that evil word failure. The times when our long, slavish efforts were for naught, and the sweat on our brows seems to have served no purpose. When the toil of our hands brought us nowhere, and we stand at the end of our rigorous, willful exertions and find we have done nothing. The outcome of our diligence is merely another day of disappointment.
And I remember the wicked servant of the same parable. The servant who…failed?
I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he was will be taken away.
I laugh, for now I read this story differently, reader. You see, I understand that wicked servant. I feel the same foreboding. Because he feared the same as I: he feared failure. And that fear of failure forced him to hide what his master had given him, for he was afraid he would never see the joy of success.
And yet…don’t you see? His master did not punish him for his failure to produce.
His master trusted his servants with their gifts, just as God trusts me with my life and the time that I have. He wishes—just as that master wished—for me to do something with it. Not to hide it, submerge it in fear, kill it with my own over-thinking, or smother it in an attempt to shield myself from failure.
Friends, that master did not condemn the servant for his failure to produce, because the servant didn’t fail in active effort. He quit.
That servant was condemned for his fear of failure, his decision to discard his opportunity, and his fear of himself. That servant was condemned for believing the hissing voices within the hollows of his head that told him he would never make anything of what he had been supplied with.
God does not scorn failure. He scorns self-doubt. He scorns wasted opportunity.
So I will not neglect the pen. I pick it up: I write, I scribble, I create culture and I return to the world with beautiful bounties to share. I throw myself onto the page, and I will never cease to do so. I will pour everything that I am into the time that I have. I will be a steward of what I’ve been given. I will watch over my life and incessantly praise the One who gave it to me.
Because with God breathing breath into each of our bodies, there is no such thing as failure. There is only growth. There is only time. There is only opportunity to create, to love, to hope, and to rejoice in the fact that we are allowed to be part of it all.
One who is responsible. All seven billion of us are stewards—whether we have chosen to acknowledge it or not. All of us are asked to make something of the breath we have been given, and it is our choice whether we will transform our ragged selves into something more.
We make, we write, we sing, we play, we dance, we discover, we study, we create.
It is who we are and who we always shall be, for we are the stewards of our lives. In everything you have been given, you are a steward. You are a steward in all things. Think not of failure. Think only of growth, opportunity, and the love of God that breathed your life into existence.
Is it not beautiful?
If you have read this far, I salute you for listening to my nonsensical rambling! 😂