Stewardship: Responsibly managing something entrusted to one's care.

Money is not so very complex. Ultimately, it has only four possibilities. We can receive it, save/invest it, spend it or share it. Though their mix is obviously subject to infinite variations, our particular, individual blends will necessarily reflect the qualities of our lives and our life choices.

Receiving it may engage our earning powers. Or it may be the byproducts of saving/investing. Or it may be the consequence of tragedy, luck or inheritance.

By spending it, we access the world's goods and services. For some of us, this is not so pleasant. We cannot get what we need. Or we worry desperately, striving for sufficiency. Others of us can eat our fill, sleep in luxury and play within all the enabled diversions, addressing our miscellaneous needs, real and perceived.

Sharing it means making it available to others without immediate tangible payback. It may engage our families, our tax systems our philanthropy or our businesses.

In all of these, there are choices and implications. Yet, at the end of the day, the money just isn't enough. It never is. Whether getting it, investing it, spending it or sharing it, money is just a part of life and our responses to it.

We all know this. We all also know that each human being is blessed with unique gifts of time and talent, in addition to treasure. They are intertwined. For some, the money is most abundant. For others, money is merely one possible byproduct of our time and talent choices. Still others suffer from profound disconnects within all or each.

(Still others simply don't have much of it or a chance to get much of it. Clearly, this article does not address their issues.)

Our money choices reflect or enable effective use of time and talent. We receive each in trust. They are among our primary assets. When viewed in combination through the same lens, our money choices generate questions of careful and responsible asset management, i.e. stewardship.

Stewardship is an ancient notion. It speaks to mindful, personal management of these three. It speaks to accepting personal responsibility for our lives and the simple fact that these assets are within our individual control. "Stewardship" does not deny that our lots in life are different. "Stewardship" does not require acceptance of any truth other than the simple fact of one's own glorious but transitory existence and a sense of responsibility to make best use of it. From there, "Stewardship" does, in fact, demand that we look at this life's realities to determine our peculiar existential challenges and our varying responses to them.

So, how does each of us respond to such questions as: How should I live? Why do I live? Who am I? What does it mean to live life well? In grace? To appreciate my gifts? To walk humbly yet leave the world a better place? To use what I have in this life to the best of my abilities, preferences and inclinations? To be "productive?" To be the best "me" I can be? How do I become a thoughtful and grateful steward of that which has been "entrusted to my care?" How do I use my time on this planet? How do I best use my talents? "To be or not to be ..."

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