Our Core Values: Whole Life Stewardship

“We proclaim Jesus as Lord over all creation and culture, striving to integrate faith, life and vocation in serving him.”

What a bold statement this is: “We proclaim Jesus as Lord over all creation and culture.” As disciples of Jesus, do we really believe that he is Lord over everything? Over nature? Over ideas? Over our relationships? Over all human institutions?

The book of Colossians tells us that “all the deity lives in bodily form” in him (2:10), that all things were created “through him,” “in him” and “for him” (1:16–17), that everything exists to bring him glory (1:18) and, finally, that like a triumphant general, he exercises authority over everyone and everything (2:15).

What would our lives look like if we truly lived out this concept? Recently, I reread Robert Boyd Munger’s classic booklet, My Heart — Christ’s Home, published by InterVarsity Press®. Munger points out that submission to Jesus involves not a single decision, but a series of daily choices that give him control over various “rooms” in our lives. These rooms (and their metaphorical connections) include:

The living room (quiet time). Do we invite him to speak to us each morning? Do we allow him to examine our souls? How carefully do we listen to his voice throughout the day?

The study (the mind). Do we evaluate all that we read in light of his truth, holiness and love? Or do we waste precious mental capacity and time reading materials that are frivolous at best and harmful at worst?

The recreation room (entertainment). Are we guilty of sprinkling a thin veneer of spirituality upon a hedonistic value system? Do we allocate our prime energy and resources for Kingdom purposes or for ourselves?

The bedroom (sexuality). In what ways do we cordon Jesus off from our sexual attitudes and practices? What do we try to hide from him? A sinful relationship, addiction to pornography, uncontrolled fantasies?

The hall closet (secrets). What unresolved issues could we be bringing before Jesus? What hidden hurt or guilt should be exposed to light and fresh air? Are we holding any grudges that we simply refuse to let go?

How could these same questions be framed and answered in our corporate lives together as a fellowship group on campus?

“. . . striving to integrate faith, life and vocation in serving him.” A final room merits our attention — the workroom. As followers of Jesus, we take seriously the challenge to place our careers at his feet. We are called to become change agents for his sake along whatever career path we take, whether healthcare, government, business, media, the church or the sciences.

Paraphrasing a statement made by author Richard Chewning, the crucial decision about vocational Lordship and stewardship comes not when we decide to be a foreign missionary rather than an architect, but rather when we decide that we will live our entire lives in holy obedience. Whether that leads to architecture or evangelistic work overseas is then secondary. The major decision has already been made.

Martin Luther reflected long and hard on the concept of vocation. To him, it wasn’t a particular job function, but rather a desire to live an integrated life: “A cobbler, a smith, a farmer—each has the work of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops. . . . We should accustom ourselves to think of our work as sacred, not on account of the position, but on account of the faith on which the obedience and work flow.”

Let us then, as clay in the Potter’s hands (Jeremiah 18), submit all that we are to him. This includes our dreams, careers, recreation, secret thoughts, sexuality and appetites—a tall order indeed. The mystery is that when we make him master of our entire house, we become truly whole. Put another way, Jesus reminds us that “those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it” (Mark 8:35). Amen.

—Alec Hill

(from Student Leadership Journal, vol. 17:3)