It occurred to me as I started writing, that if stewardship is about the use of resources, we are not the only ones who are stewards; actually, I’d say God is the Master Steward, but in God’s case the resources aren’t so much material or environmental, rather a vast resource of faithful servants through whom God enters our lives.
When I think about how God has acted in my life, what I see is that over much time God has employed a pretty diverse group of witnesses (certainly not all Anglicans), to shape my faith and ministry. Actually, I’m not even sure when this process began. Was it with my baptism when just under 3 months old? Was it when I was taken (i.e. “dragged”), to Sunday School as a child by my mother? Was it during Confirmation preparation? Just before the fateful day our rector asked if I felt any inclination toward going into ministry, to which I replied “no” while thinking “not in this lifetime”. Was it during my mid-teens when mom began going to a new parish where I was drawn into a youth group and participated for a couple of years. But what about faith? As I told our rector, the most interesting part of the services were actually his sermons, but when it came to saying the creed there were parts I didn’t believe, so those I just didn’t say.
In my later teens I dropped out of church; it wasn’t important and I had other interests. After high school I entered the photographic arts program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. During that period of my life I met Liz (an Anglican), and Cathy (a Baptist), both nursing students and long-time friends, and more significantly evangelical Christians who were not shy about sharing their faith, nor about challenging me regarding my beliefs, or lack thereof. But it’s surprising how we can change when we’re challenged. I was challenged and surprised into faith, not by Liz or Cathy’s arguments about faith and God, though they were certainly part of the process, but by a very quiet, undeniable experience of God’s presence one night as I lay in my room. From that experience there was no going back. So, in a way that was the beginning, or was it?
Through Liz I met a number of Inuit patients at the Toronto Sanatorium, which led my venturing north to a summer job in Iqaluit. In my third year at Ryerson I met Luke (Canadian Reformed), and Wilbur (former director of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship). Both significantly influenced the growth of my understanding and faith as a new Christian. Luke led me to a greater understanding of Christ as a person of the Trinity; Wilbur introduced me to a number of Christian authors, particularly C. S. Lewis. After graduation, I went back to the Arctic looking for some form of Christian service (not to mention a livelihood). From there I met the bishop of the Arctic diocese, went to seminary on the prairies, met Mavis (a Lutheran), who became my spouse, encountered the charismatic movement (a group of Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Pentecostals), and entered life and ministry in a new culture and language. Eventually it even led to Rupert’s Land. Looking back, God certainly used a lot of resources along the way and looking at the present, it seems as though God has not stopped doing so, but that’s another story.