Sometimes the most meaningful stewardship truths come from the most unexpected places. This has been true for me over the past few weeks, as two of the most-watched television events in recent memory yielded some insights into our lives as Christian stewards.
The first was a set of core values espoused by an organization from my home state of Indiana:
Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness.
Could have come from one of our fine United Methodist churches in the Indiana Conference, right? Turns out those are the core values of the Butler University Bulldogs men's basketball team. As millions watched on television, Butler, led by their young head coach Brad Stevens, made its improbable run in the NCAA men's basketball tournament - March Madness - advancing to the final game of the tournament for the second consecutive year. Although they were national runners-up both this year and last, those young men taught a valuable lesson, that grounded and united by commitment to their values, groups of people can accomplish anything. While not explicitly "Christian," the Bulldogs' values -- win or lose (and they mostly win) -- are certainly consistent with a life of comprehensive Christian stewardship. The Church could learn a thing or two from these guys.
Think of the great things that would happen if we all built our lives as Christian disciples around humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness?
The second was a prayer. Here's an excerpt:
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Help us serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
That prayer was penned not by some esteemed religious leader, but by Prince William and Kate Middleton, whose wedding was watched worldwide by a television audience of an astounding three billion people. That's even more than watched the final episode of M*A*S*H, not to date myself.
My wife was among them. She got up early and made English tea and scones accompanied by Devonshire cream to mark the occasion. (By contrast, the menu for my March Madness gathering tended toward smoked meat.)
We can learn something from these two young people as well. Think of the great things that would happen if we were to be generous with our time and love and energy. Think what would happen if we dedicated ourselves to serving and comforting those who suffer.
Come to think of it, that's what Jesus did. Certain basketball teams and royal couples seem to understand that. So should we.