“Mbebbeb – Custodian!”(Lk.16:10-13).
“Mbebbeb” is a Mumgaka name which translates to “I’m a caretaker or custodian” When you are a caretaker, you do not claim ownership.
In some Grassfield cultures when a family head dies and there’s disagreement about successorship, a grandson is appointed to act as regent until such time when a successor would be selected. A regent can only act as a trustee, but cannot claim ownership.
A trustee is equally a steward who manages property on behalf of somebody or a body.
Whether you are called a regent, or a trustee or a steward, it all settles down to being in charge of what you are only a custodian.
There is a sense in which all who inhabit the earth are custodians (caretakers).
A Christian medley states, “When I was coming, I came naked. I came and saw the things of this earth and claimed ownership. When I’ll be going, I’ll go naked to meet Jesus just as I came.” It fits with scriptures, “Naked I came, naked I will return.”
The wanton exploitation and destruction of the resources of the earth for personal or collective interest groups raises the worry whether it means anything to any of us that we are mere custodians!
The first duty of man in the garden was stewardship. Stewardship presupposes the awareness of being accountable to the owner.
Life is about the little things that matter. When we talk about not being concerned about the care of mother Earth and her resources we may only start laying the blame on muliti-national cooperations and former colonial exploiters. But little things matter! How well have you been concerned and careful of the little under your care?
One time when I was pastoring in Douala a lady came to me asking for a loan of 150,000frs to start a restaurant business. She told me she had been cooking for a popular chain of restaurants for about two years.
I reminded her that the same popular chain of restaurants started with a capital of less than 10,000frs, cooking and selling only garri and okra soup by a roadside.
We must not start big. We start small and expand. How we manage the little -; especially as custodians – determines how much the owner can reward us when we have rendered account of our stewardship.
The Igbos teach us great lessons in grooming business upstarts. You sell in a shop for a number of years. After faithful years of devoted service, the master opens your own shop. If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
If we mismanage worldly wealth God will not trust us with true riches!
True riches is the gift of God in Christ. Whoever has found Christ has possessed her/his possession of heavenly riches. But when we concentrate on the mundane, we lose focus. We run after the shadow and miss the substance.
It is either you serve God or the god of money. “You cannot serve both God and Money,” but you can use money to serve God through service to humanity! Let me repeat again what we said yesterday, “We rise by lifting others up!” We become very rich when we come to that moment where the pain of others become our concern.
Weekend prayer: Holy Spirit help me to be conscientious with the little under my care. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray for proper management of the resources of the earth.
Rev Babila Fochang.