Integrity

Ownership

Author: Brendon O'Dowd, Chaplain, U.S. Air Force LTC (Ret.)

Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC BY 2.0

At the beginning of my Military Service as a young supply/fuels officer, my boss informed me about my accountability and responsibility over all the fuel on base.

Responsibility

Since I was stationed on an air refueling base, that meant I was “in charge” of millions of gallons of fuel.  Each month I would be required to review and sign an accountability report of any gains or losses pertaining to the fuel.  To a “butter-bar” fuel management was an awesome responsibility, but there is something even more important that I had to remember—I didn’t own the fuel!

Imagine if I woke up one morning and decided to take “ownership” of the fuel and began selling it to the highest bidder.  I would be rich…until the court martial!  Why?  Although I am responsible and accountable for the fuel, I do not own it.  The government (and ultimately the taxpayers) own the fuel.  I am simply a caretaker or steward.

Faithful Stewardship

Jesus tells a parable about being stewards or caretakers of our lives in Luke 12:36-48.  He tells His listeners that they should be ready for the Master (God) to come who will inspect and review the accountability report of their lives.  There will be some who serve faithfully and honorably, and others who think God won’t show up anytime soon (or ever), allowing them to live as they please.

The point of the parable is to remind us all that He is coming, and He will hold us accountable.  He raised the bar when He stated that “everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (verse 48).

Merciful Authority

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Reuben Chisholm, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron, operates a fuel truck while refueling a C-130H Hercules from the 302nd Airlift Wing, Colorado Air Force Reserve, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 28, 2011. The C-130 is equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System housed aboard a C-130 Hercules which is capable of dispensing 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in under five seconds. The 7th Bomb Wing has been supporting the 302nd AW and the 146th AW, California Air National Guard, with flightline operations while at Dyess AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris/Released)

Paul explains stewardship in another way when he reminds us we will all appear before the Commander (Christ Himself) “so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Anyone who has stood before a commander in full service dress and at attention knows the fear that comes from being vulnerable and defenseless.  Our foolish actions have come under the scrutiny of the unit authority and we have no hope but for that authority to have mercy.

And that is just what our Commander did, He had mercy on us.  He personally absorbed our “due” punishment through His work on the cross.  We have a chance to start over with new marching orders.  Since Christ “died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (verse 15).

Living for God should impress upon us the need for daily accountability.  As a supply/fuels officer, it was imperative to take care of problems quickly before greater damage or destruction occurred (fuel has a way of blowing up).  It is no less true for us.

Small problems in our lives can lead to great damage later.

So, keep short accounts with God and spend time with Him each day.  Read all of 2 Corinthians 5 and make a commitment to be accountable to God and utilize His power to live for Him.

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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