Earth’s paradisiacal garden housed a perfect creation described as bringing pleasure to its maker. Yet even this paled in comparison to the magnificent and complex handiwork that was yet to be. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” and so it was. (Genesis 1:26) The legendary custodians, Adam and Eve were fashioned for this explicit purpose. “…be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
Dominion; defined as sovereignty and/or control. One cannot be assigned dominion without the implied constraint of responsibility and one cannot exhibit responsibility if one lacks knowledge, integrity, transparency and accountability. It is interesting to note the four-point directive to man in this ancient book of origins: be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue. Four points distilled to two fundamental edicts; grow and govern, the essence of man’s charge.
Adam, himself a master of creativity, touched, felt and named each animal in the garden as they came under his loving care. Authority was given him over this vast and vibrant orb of new life. As time passed each eco-system of perpetuity ushered in new seed of issue and reverently released the former, each seed intended to fulfill its cycle: to live, to die, to live again and bring forth much fruit, nature’s gospel story. But not all met their destiny as their appointed seasons came to an end; “from dust you were created and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)
A sense of divine expectation rested upon this couple as God displayed his greatest expression of trust: that of stewardship. Stewardship is the authority given to an entity or person(s) carrying with it an implied fiduciary commitment to serve the needs of the governed party over that of its agents. One need not look far to see the stewardship of Adam and Eve fell bitterly short of their creator’s intent.
From that day until now the commission of man has not changed. At its core it is simply to leave something better than we found it: to protect its vibrant health, to promote its growth and ensure its sustainability. To enhance the breath, length, and depth of its well-being and diminish its weaknesses. But does this command imply an even greater charge? The answer is found in the Biblical book of Mathew, the 25th chapter.
It is here one cannot mistake the God perspective. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.”
The story goes on to detail the diverse handling of the master’s money by his servants. Two provide a profitable return and one provides none. The startling harshness by which Jesus expressed his displeasure must have taken many of His listeners by surprise.
“You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” A startling response for a most tender and compassionate Rabbi.
The parable communicates an obligation of the steward according to heaven’s mandate. A mandate that not only requires growth and governing but implies something more. An expectation many could deem entirely unreasonable. For how can one reap where He has not sown, or gather where He scattered no seed?” Yet the directive was clearly fulfilled by the first two servants who delivered a more than profitable return despite what many would deem an unrealistic expectation.
I will call this Inspired Stewardship. When the mandate of faith and obedience is followed entirely one can yield more than optimal results. To not simply grow the investment but take it to an entirely new level. We see a demonstration of this taking place in the hands of Jesus’ disciples as the multiplication of 12 baskets of bread and fish miraculously fed thousands.
The teacher from Galilee often spoke of seeds; plantings and harvests and their ratio of success and/or failure. In such he identified the condition of both the seed, the ground and the elements that support, nurture or threaten each. One could not expect a great harvest if any of these essential components were compromised. So how can planting our financial seed in a compromised field yield us a great reward? If corporate entities prize swift monetary reward over long term value and sustainability, if they focus on price rather than intrinsic worth, our loss is assured.
Our founding fathers did not trust in systems or in markets, but in the people responsible for them. They understood corporations were only the fascia of the people that undergirded them. Their allegiance and commitment to the Judeo – Christian precepts upon which our nation was built became a solid foundation for success.
Our country was built upon individuals who believed they were morally responsible for their decisions whether or not they were legally liable for them. IN GOD WE TRUST still reads boldly on our currency. The basis of our entire global banking system was established on a principal communicated in one word; CREDIT. That word is derived from the Latin word Credo which means I Believe; the first word of the Apostles creed. It means to trust or to entrust.
When a climate of faith and confidence shifts to a culture of uncertainty, economic return is diminished. We see this routinely in the Stock Market when the mere perception of corporate stability shifts from firm to ambiguous its stock price responds. A lack of faith, or the mere questioning of faith, quickly erodes value.
Each financial seed we plant in each and every field we choose is only destined for success if all the criteria in the divine mandate has been met. Good seed in good soil and people of integrity managing the process. Unethical practices, policies or products erode human dignity and moral enterprise. Placing little value on honesty and ethics creates a morally hazardous field and a harvest of unsustainability. Is faith and trust a commodity to be traded? Our founding fathers didn’t think so, and neither do I.
To answer the call of good stewardship we must return to the undergirding of its foundation; knowledge, integrity, transparency and accountability. Eyes wide open, knowing where our investment dollars go and making responsible choices as to what we will and will not endorse. Inspired stewardship; the essence of the God-given charge given to each one of us. I endeavor to live up to it.
Article by Teresa Romano Roybal Born and raised in New York, Teresa has spent the last 22 years building three multi-million-dollar companies but now she says she’s finally “come home”. “I’ve always known I was born to minister the Gospel of Christ and finally this is my life.”
Ordained in 2014, Teresa J. Roybal ministries has opened THE RIVER SANTA FE a non-traditional Christian outreach in the Santa Fe community.
Singer/Songwriter/Worshiper/Preacher she started in New York’s mega churches as a featured Worship leader before embracing New York’s highly competitive diamond business. In 1999 she moved to Santa Fe New Mexico and married Gabriel Roybal an esteemed aesthetic dentist.
Working hard together they have built several medical/dental practices. Now they labor together in ministry impacting the local community with the good news of the gospel and the miraculous love and power of God. Visit theriversantafe.com for more information.