As y’all know, I’m now living in the Dallas,Texas area. (Yeah I know, the Cowboys won Sunday, and I saw the Governor of New Jersey’s “bromance” with Jerry Jones). Anyway, I’ve started my first week as president/CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Until the house is ready, I’m staying with my best friends Simeon and Alma in Corinth and Pastor Scott at my home church, Community Christian in Tamarac, Florida, will be glad to know I’ve been attending church with them.
So my first Sunday in 2015 was at Antioch Christian Fellowship in the Oakmont community here in Corinth. By the way, Pastor Christopher Respess is the spitting image of my friend Simeon. His sermon this past Sunday focused on “Ownership versus Stewardship” and was taken from 1 Corinthians 4:2, (New American Standard Bible), “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”
So on Monday morning as I ran through the neighborhood — and let me tell you, running at 5:30 am in South Florida ain’t like running in North Texas, it is doggone chilly — my course took me past Antioch Christian and it hit me.
What a great message Pastor Respess should share with our incoming new 114th US Congress, House and Senate today. Pastor Respess reminded the congregation of that scripture and the song sung during offering, “All things come of thee, O God, and of thine own have we given thee”, (1 Chron 29 :14, KJV).
What Pastor Respess expressed was that in life we truly do not own anything – as a matter of fact he used the parallel of the “time-share” to convey his point. We pay for a period of time but we must depart once that time has expired.
But the good pastor’s message should also reflect the mentality of those whom have been elected as the representatives of the people — they are the stewards who must be found trustworthy. It is to these “stewards” that we depend upon, entrust, to abide by the rule of law and legislate in a manner that promotes the American interest — not self or special interest.And that of course pertains to that which is mostly entrusted to them — our resources. Yes, we must “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” but we also must hold government to a standard of justice in the execution of their duties.
So as today we witness the swearing in of a new Congress, the key question does go back to the topic scripture from Pastor Respess on the first Sunday of 2015: “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.” And let me be very clear, this is a bipartisan challenge.This past November 4th, the American people entrusted the GOP to take the lead in the U.S. House and Senate. That charge comes to them because since 2010, the national legislative sentiment has shifted — as it did in 2006.
Those elected in Washington D.C. must recognize they are not in a position of ownership, but rather stewardship. And that comes with another important responsibility: be trustworthy.
It reminds me of a very great quote from one of our Founding Fathers, Virginian George Mason, who remarked at the State ratifying convention for the Constitution, on June 17, 1788, “Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”
That is the essence of trustworthiness from a good steward — a citizen-legislator. It boils down to servant leadership.
So as you’re reading this, ask yourself, what would be the response from the House and Senate if Pastor Christopher Respess were to stand before a joint session of Congress after they were sworn in and deliver the same message from the first Sunday in 2015 at Antioch Christian Fellowship?
Yeah, I know, the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Wisconsin would throw a hissy fit — but work with me. How do you think such a simple message of stewardship be accepted on Capitol Hill? Well, we shall see if we can somehow slow down the debt clock and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington DC.
Congratulations to the Members of the 114th Congress, especially all of you new Members. May I make a simple recommendation to all Members to call up Antioch Christian Fellowship Church in Corinth, Texas and get a DVD of Pastor Christopher Respess’ sermon from the first Sunday in 2015 on “Ownership versus Stewardship.” If that’s too much to ask, then ask a staffer to print out 1 Corinthians 4:2 and tape it to your office door.
Godspeed, America is watching.