Major league baseball players sometimes refer to August as the “dog days of summer.” August does seem to be one of those months that you simply want to get through. In the wheat growing regions of our country from Texas up to Canada the crops have been harvested and the fields are bare except for stubble and straw. The days are hot and dry accompanied with winds. It’s enough to make people long for September when things start all over again. “If we can just get through August then things will get back to normal.”
Living and working as God’s stewards can sometimes feel like the “dog days of August.” Managing all of life and life’s resources seems like a never-ending job. And it is because we are stewards from birth to death. We are tempted to think of ourselves as owners rather than stewards or managers. But God is the true Owner of all things and He has entrusted to us a portion of that which belongs to Him with the expectation that we will manage those gifts wisely for His purposes. That can seem like chasing the wind—always managing and never owning. But for us as God’s children and stewards it is not so much an obligation as it is a privilege.
In life we normally want to get ahead and in that process may sacrifice our health and family in chasing after more and more. Jesus taught us that life is not a matter of accumulating material things but is rather the seeking first of His kingdom and His righteousness. Then, since our Heavenly Father knows what we need, He will provide it so we can be content and confident. St. Paul learned that truth well and gave us some wise counsel in Philippians 3:11b-12: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
St. Paul knew that God is the Owner and Giver of life and everything associated with life. In most cases God blesses us beyond measure. However, He does not give us more than we can handle. When Jesus told the parable of the three stewards He indicated that the master gave each one a different amount to manage according to the individual steward’s ability (Matthew 25:15). Likewise, God gives us only as much as we can manage for His purposes.
So when we think about the wise management of time, abilities, money, relationships and all the other things in life, we can do so without worry or the feeling that life as God’s stewards is like enduring the “dog days of August.” Because Jesus redeemed us to be God’s children we can live each day and work each day in a free and joyful way confident of the truth that we “can do everything through Christ who gives us strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Don’t just endure the “dog days of August” but make the most of each day as God’s redeemed stewards.