Stewardship isn't a word we hear very often these days. When we do, it usually comes from the pulpit during the generally dreaded sermon about tithing--giving money to the church. I also hear it once in a while in connection with the ever-popular "green" movement when we are encouraged to be good stewards of our natural resources.
Particularly after the disturbing news this week that AIG gave out $165 million in bonuses after they received more than $170 billion in federal bailout money, I think it's time this county revisit this word of stewardship that comes from the 15th century.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, stewardship is the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.
Obviously the big wigs at AIG could use a lesson in stewardship, but I think we all could. While these current economic times are certainly not wanted or desirable, I hope we can at least get something out of them-a sense of stewardship. Since we obviously haven't learned that lesson in recent years, I have a feeling we're going to learn at the proverbial School of Hard Knocks.
The Americans still among us who suffered through the Great Depression know what stewardship is. They know that prosperity, money, and resources are a gift to be handled carefully and responsibly. They know this because they had to do it to survive. If we, as a nation, are going to survive these times, we had better get a quick lesson in being careful and responsible.