Week 39: Trustees by Advocate International | Jun 11, 2019 | 0 comments Every one to whom much is given, of him much will be required. Luke 12:48 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that they be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 The law has developed a road set of principles which govern the duties and responsibilities of trustees. These principles apply in a broad range of fiduciary relationships—relationships involving heightened responsibilities because of the nature of the relationship in fact or law. The core concept is that the trustee or steward must act not in their self-interest, but in the exclusive interest of the one for whom they are a trustee. Some of these duties are negative—such as a prohibition on self-dealing—and some are positive such as a duty of full disclosure, and active management. Thus, if I am a trustee of a financial account for a minor or incompetent adult, I must recognize the assets I control are not mine at all, and I must exercise special care to assure the assets are protected and used for the benefit of the other person. I must do more than avoid fraud or even negligence—I must be careful and prudent, giving full attention. Lawyers are not only familiar with these principles, but are themselves often trustees for the affairs of others. In America, lawyers have “trust” accounts where clients’ funds must be carefully preserved. Lawyers may have trustee duties in regard to organizations, clients and partners. The law speaks of a trustee’s duty of loyalty, and a duty of care. The Scriptures are replete with similar images and principles which govern our duties. We are described not as owners—but as stewards, as trustees. It is true in regard to our very lives, to creation, and with those entrusted to our spiritual care including our spouses, children and church family. It is implicit in the principle of the ultimate Lordship of Christ—there cannot be two Lords. All that we have is to be understood as a trust given by God, and we are to care for that trust. Jesus warned in the parable of the talents of the steward who did not wisely invest the resources he was given, but merely sought to preserve them. But more was expected (Matthew 25:15). Jesus reminded us that faithfulness—trustworthiness—in small things will lead to greater responsibilities. Even the gospel is described as something “entrusted” to us (1 Timothy 1:11-12). Of course, this principle that we are trustees, agents, servants and stewards runs against the grain of our nature. We want to control, possess, and own. We want fee simple title to all we can seize. We are self-dealers by nature. Whatever we have, we tend to claim is the result of our hard work, industriousness, and education. We have what we have “the old fashioned way—we earned it,” as the commercial suggested. We are possessors. Perhaps even our lawyer-ness encourages such misguided notions. We have worked hard for our skills and position in life. We have acquired, in many cases, many things we call possession. (One wonders whether we possess them or they possess us.) How different would our lives be, how different our families, how different our law practices if we were grasped by the principle that our power, time, energy, skills, creativity, money—life itself—was a trust we were given by our Lord—to whom we owed a duty of loyalty and service. What if we saw clients, neighbors, partners as part of the corpus of the trust? Remember, in law and in Scripture there comes a time of accounting—a time to demonstrate how the trust was managed. The essence of Christian stewardship is simply this: full time, irrevocable, personal responsibility before God. Rousas Rushdoony Lynn R. Buzzard – This article comes from AI’s “No Higher Calling,” a devotional for lawyers. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.