By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
As a preacher’s kid, I had many unique experiences. Of all things, one such lesson for me centered on baths in the church parsonage.
When Susie and I were growing up, our family lived in a house owned by the church. I have wonderful memories of the parsonage. Tithe money from the members of the church supported us, and part of the arrangement was that the church would pay the utilities of the parsonage.
My mother took very seriously that we were living in that house and the issue of the people’s tithe. She monitored us with the philosophy that our sustenance physically was provided by God, through God’s people, which meant that we had to be good stewards. Therefore, Mother watched the expenditures with regard to utilities.
Mother’s number-one rule was that we did not keep on unnecessary lights, and we didn’t waste water when taking a bath. In fact, Mother would go along behind us, turning lights off and giving a little speech at the same time if we left lights on! She always reminded us that it was people’s tithe, the Lord’s money, that paid for our electricity.
This included bath time. Susie and I had a tendency to run the water too high and soak in the bathtub. I remember as a teenager I would turn the radio on and want to take hour-long hot baths. But this was Mother’s take on the issue: “Now tithe money pays for our hot water. You can take just as good a bath and get just as clean in a little water. You don’t have to run it clear to the top. We must be good stewards of God’s money.”
That’s where I first became cognizant of what being a good steward was.
I look back and Mother and Daddy taught us an even greater lesson than water and light conservation and being good stewards of tithe money. What they taught us was even deeper, and to this day influences my life and speaks to me. Peter wrote: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).
My parents were honorable stewards of the grace that was bestowed upon them. Their focus in life, the compass that guided their steps, their mindsets and goals were ones aimed glorifying God. They honored their calling. Godly principles were lived out in all areas of their lives, from their personal and private prayer lives to their relationships with others, to even the management of utilities in the church’s house!
Then as I matured spiritually, I saw that the water was really the secondary issue. The important thing was the sacrifice of people because of their gratitude to God.
I think back about my parents being good stewards of grace. Those times I remember their example, I have a great awareness of my need to grow in sensing God’s evidence of grace all around me. The real lesson was that I should live every area of my life in total obedience and thankfulness toward him.
As I think of that bathtub story today, I am thankful for my mother, the lessons she taught me and the life of grace she still lives. Come to think of it … I know those bathtub experiences were giant steps in my grace walk.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org