By Sheila Robinson, RN, BSN
The Gospel indicates that we are called to be stewards. You might ask…what is a steward, and what am I a steward over? According to dictionary.com, a steward is a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others; a person who has charge of the household or another, buying or obtaining food, directing the servants, etc. An employee on a ship, train or bus who waits on and is responsible for the comfort of passengers, takes orders for or distributes food. Stewardship is translated from the Greek word oikonomia which means the management of household or household affairs, specifically the management, oversight or administration of another’s property.
We are called to be stewards over many things in our lives. Stewards over our money by making sure we are paying our bills, including paying our tithes (according to Malachi 3:10). We are also called to be stewards over our children, for they are a gift from God. And last, but not least, we are called to be faithful stewards over your bodies.
As I read the various definitions above, what stood out to me were the words “management of another’s property.” This property includes our bodies, which belong to God. God has given each one of us a body that we are called to be stewards over. In Genesis 2:7, God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man then became a living being. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite verses, 1 Corinthians 6:19, says: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
So, are you a faithful steward over your body? When sin entered the world, our bodies were then open to disease and illness. Our body is temporary, so yes, it will break down and become weak if not taken care of. When you purchase a car, there is a suggested maintenance plan that will ensure optimal performance. Tire rotation, oil change and other items are needed in order to keep your car running well. It is the same with our bodies. Our maintenance plan includes preventative care. When was the last time you went to the doctor (not because you were sick) and had a regular physical exam? Do you have a health care provider? Are you eating right, getting enough sleep, doing at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week?
All of these things play a role in being a faithful steward over your body. You need a healthcare provider, who you see yearly for your physical exams and acts as the primary resource for your healthcare. You may see other physicians who specialize in particular areas, like an endocrinologist who follows your diabetes or a cardiologist for your heart health. It is vital they are all communicating with each other. Getting annual screenings is an important way to be a faithful steward over your body. At age 40, women should have a yearly mammogram, unless there is a family history of breast cancer, in which case they should begin screenings earlier. At age 50 men and women should have a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. At Healthfinders.gov, you can find guides to healthy living and important screenings.
As the health ministry coordinator with Carolinas HealthCare System’s Faith Community Health Ministry, I assist people in being faithful stewards over their body by working with either a faith community nurse or health promoter, from within their own particular faith community. This person helps promote health and wellness through prevention and education, focusing not just on the mind and the body, but also on spiritual wellness. As the New Year is upon us, I hope that you will look at 2013 with new eyes and begin to be a faithful steward in all ways. I leave you with this from 3 John 2, “My dear friends, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”