It’s not quite clear who said it first: some sources claim it was Presbyterian theologian John Westerhoff, and others say Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morneau, and others don’t attribute the line to anyone at all.

Regardless, the take-note-of-this-saying is this: “Stewardship is what you do after you say, ‘I believe.’”

It’s super pithy, and profound to boot.

In short, it’s naming what turns out to be a very obvious, very basic truth: everything you do, all who you are, is related to the basic claims of your faith, whatever it might be.

Martin Luther would have been all over this, for it’s basic First Commandment stuff:

That in which, or in whom, you believe defines who you are and what you do, not to mention why you do it and why you are it.

So today, this Easter Day, a chorus of Christians exclaim “Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!”

It’s super pithy, and profound to boot.

But baked into this announcement is their belief that death does have a word, no doubt, but whatever else you can say about it (and much can be said), it’s not the last one.

This day, the day on which most of the Christian tradition commemorates the event of Jesus rising from the dead, this day, and only this day, makes us Christians.

The other events, the other components, the other teachings leading up to that first Easter day matter, of course, and matter deeply.

But short of a belief in the resurrection, all the good deeds and wisdom of Jesus would have rendered him a prophet, a mentor, a teacher, a person to emulate.

It is only because we believe that Jesus is risen that we call him the Messiah and ourselves Christ-ians.

We believe that it is the empty tomb that reveals to Christians God’s ultimate agenda: life, not death, wins.

We believe that we have every reason to be afraid of death’s power, and to grieve it.


But nonetheless, we also believe that we need not fear, that there is no reason to cede death power, that in the midst of deep sorrow we can find nonetheless consolation.

Believing this, now we can steward it.

We believe we are freed to be tangible Easters.

We believe we are freed to seek death, to stare it down, to experience death and to say to it, “Nevertheless! You are not more powerful than the promise that, because Jesus is risen, nothing, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We believe we are freed to live the words of the late Walter Bouman, “Now that you know that death doesn’t win, there’s more to do with your lives than preserve them.”

We believe we are freed to believe that we are shaped by sin, but not defined by it.

We believe we are freed to steward, both in our lives and the lives of others, our belief in Easter’s Good News:

Jesus is risen.

Therefore death is real.

But Life is real-er.