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Be a good steward with your thinking, too

Columnist Chris Brekke says in addition to managing your time, talent and treasure, you should be wise in managing your thinking.

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"Stewardship" is a fairly common word for Christians.

We in the church have "stewardship talks" and "stewardship drives." The word is mostly used in relationship with giving, as in : money.

The root biblical idea is that we humans are the stewards — not the owner — of life.

The Lord God is the Maker and Owner of all that we have, so we stewards or managers are tasked with handling well what has been entrusted to us. We stewards are to manage that which is on loan to us from the Lord, as we consider our time, our talents, and our treasure.

Stewardship is a very solid and salutary core value for our lives. Are you OK with it? It is radically different than the view that "its my stuff and I'll do as I darn well please with it." Those who like that approach can delude themselves with it for awhile — many decades perhaps — but at the end, it's not your stuff, you can't take it with you and you leave it all. All.

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So its best to be a good steward, honoring God and blessing your neighbor.

Let me go off the beaten stewardship path and ask you to add a fourth "T" to your consideration.

In addition to managing your time, talent and treasure, I urge you to wisely steward your thinking. That is a manageable commodity, you know.

What do you invest your thinking in? What is feeding it? What is it accruing? The ideas that enter your brain have an impact, right?

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When you were a kid, did your mom and dad care about who you were hanging out with? Didn't they want you running with a good crowd and not listening to bad influences? Every parent worries that their beloved Billy will be led astray by bad company.

Who you spend your time with , and who you listen to: that's who gets inside your head and shapes you. Correct? I'm long past this point as a parent, and now it's my kids who hope and pray that their kids steward their thinking well and "have their head on straight."

Mental stewardship is critical for adults, not just kids.

Who are you spending time with? Who are you listening to? What are your mental inputs?

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Though my mom worried about me watching too much "Three Stooges," today the influences are more insidious than "nyuck nyuck" tomfoolery.

As you know, many people fill their heads daily via social media and smart phone scrolling and TV. Who are you spending time with? Who are you listening to?

If you cram your cranium with conspiracy theories or cynical ideologies or political haters, you're being set up for woe. There are unhealthy and ungodly philosophies aplenty. You can get taken in and taken over. You may not even notice; but if all the voices you're getting are one-sided, that's an echo chamber.

Friend, steward your bodily computer carefully. Back away from that which makes your thinking stinking.

God's guide book has timeless counsel on this.

King Solomon wrote: "My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck" (Proverbs 3:21-22).

Sound judgment is life-giving. From St Paul: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Beware of worldly philosophies. Jesus said: "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness" (Matthew 6:22-23). What your eyes take in shapes you.

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St. Paul again: "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:3). Set your mind; focus wisely.

The mind is among our greatest gifts and most powerful tools. It can be used for good or ill. Use it well. Otherwise, there's a lot more than three stooges being spawned.

Chris Brekke is a retired pastor who served Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Rochester for 13 years and Trinity Lutheran in West Concord for 10. He and his wife live in Roseville, Minn., where he keeps busy with volunteering, church and family.

"From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at life@postbulletin.com with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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