Struggling to be a Good Steward of the Lord
By Chea Ruei-E
Truth be told, the last few years have been a blur – as a university student during this pandemic, the bulk of my life had been confined within the 4 walls of my room. For the last 2 years, packed lecture halls and vibrant tutorial classes had been replaced by video conferences and webcast classes. A vibrant campus life ceased to exist, with any interaction limited to the paltry few minutes of each break-out room created. Apart from this university journey being markedly different from what I had expected, the full shift to online classes meant that my whole life was essentially spent in the comfort of my own home. My routine was simple; wake up, attend any classes I had, sleep. With food and shelter all provided for and endless entertainment accessible via my handphone, everything I needed was literally within reach. It was easy to forget that I needed God, and difficult to see His hand in my life which was very much all within my control. In my comfort, I failed to recognise that I was stuck in a spiritual rut.
When I was asked to write a piece for Grace BP’s church blog in mid-December 2021, I hastily agreed. However, uncertainty seeped in soon after, not because I feared writing, which has essentially become my sole way of expressing understanding as a student, but because my mind was devoid of any topic or theme to write about. Yet, when I heard Elder Victor’s Watchnight Service Message, it sorely tugged at my heart, and I felt compelled to share.
Elder Victor’s message to “Give an Account of Thy Stewardship” from Luke 16:1-2 jolted my spiritual life awake. As he called on us to give an account of our time, talent, substance, and influence, I knew I had failed miserably. Upon reflection, I realised that I was particularly lacking in the manner I spent my time. Spending my days at home, time was a luxury I was lavishly given, yet so foolishly wasted – spending hours playing games and watching shows whenever I was not studying. The message was a poignant reminder that my actions on this Earth will be judged and evaluated, and it is only right that I take account of my actions as God’s steward, lest He decides one day that I am no longer fit for His service. Although this initially struck fear in my heart, it was also a truly bittersweet moment as I came to terms with my ineptitude as God’s steward, yet also rejoiced at the knowledge of Christ’s love for me even though I failed Him.
As I recount my spiritual walk over the last year, I believe that my experience is probably not a unique one. Be it at work, school, or even at home, the way in which the pandemic has reshaped our lives in Singapore has made it ever so easy for us to live in our own small bubbles for ourselves, forgetting who we live for and why. Pastor’s article on our church blog to “Get God Involved” as he reflected on Psalm 127 reminds us that self-reliance and self-sufficiency are futile, if not foolish, as these serve only to reveal the vanity of men. It is therefore imperative that we reflect on and review our lives as we give an account of what we have done for our Lord.
In response to the call to be good stewards of the Lord, I have sought to make practical and practicable plans that continuously remind me of the need to be conscious of spending my time wisely and to dedicate the time I have to God.
Firstly, keeping a Daily Journal – to pen down the things I have done for the day in an effort to be more aware of how I spend my time. An evaluation of my day allows me to reflect on where my priorities lie. If I was to give a good account of my time as God’s steward, my time should not be excessively spent on schoolwork or personal entertainment, and keeping a Daily Journal constantly reminds me of how I have been spending my time. Secondly (and consequently), starting the day with prayer: recognising God as my priority and dedicating each day to Him has been a small but crucial step in calibrating my focus as I pursue each day in keeping with Christ’s expectations. I remember once hearing that time spent in church or personal bible study shouldn’t be viewed as “giving time to God”, but rather every other activity we do is “taking time away from Him”. Perspectives matter. After all, if He is to be our absolute priority, then should He and the time spent for Him not be the centerpiece, and every other task peripheral?
Even as all these practicable actions may be helpful, I know there will be days and future phases where I will struggle to give a good account of my life and how I have spent my time in the service of our Lord (or not). Struggles are inevitable and distractions are nigh, yet I know this pursuit as God’s steward is not mine alone, but one that is shared with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and only made possible through our Lord Jesus. It is, therefore, my desire that we continue to pray that we will seek joy in our service of God as He had commanded (Philippians 4:4), in the hope to one day, as God’s stewards, echo the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”