Accountability in Stewardship

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

As a follow up on our topic, this week we are talking about "accountability in stewardship". Accountability is naturally link to responsibility. There is no way we can be responsible, if we are not accountable. And there is no way we can be accountable without being responsible. Both of them are like a coin of two faces. You cannot do without the other.

Whenever you talk about accountability, people think about money. Money is only part of accountability; for there are other things we are accountable for. Though accountability might sounds strange, it is something we do on daily basis. On daily basis, we, as individuals, friends, families, entities and so on, state what happened to us, or to other persons; and we state how whatever that happened actually took place.

We actually do tell stories. That is accountability. Accounting is to recount a certain reality; or to disclose how that reality unfolded. That reality could an event. It could be about a person. It could be about money or other things under our care. It could really be about anything. It is simple. To talk about accountability is so simple, but to be accountable is so difficult.

To be accountable: it means that we need to have been conscious of how things happened in other to give adequate account of it; it means that we need to have taken appropriate records of what happened to be able to relay it; it means that we have the basic disposition of stewardship, namely, that whatever we are to be accountable of was given to us. It is the difficulty of accounting that throws people off, and that makes accounting sound like a near impossibility, and thus, causes people to shy away from it.

However, the truth is that from family groups to village groups, and to the larger society, accounting is a problem. Even among public officers and government functionaries, accounting is difficult. At times in Church circles, accounting is problematic.

Father Eugene Odo would advise people against seeing difficulties in accounting. He would say when you are asked to submit your Church account, you are asked to just submit how the monies were spent. In spite of that simplified approach, it is difficult to account.

As Christians we are stewards. As stewards we are the ones who manage the resources God has put under our care. If you remember our assumptions when we treated the principle of ownership, you will remember that we affirmed that all we are, and all that we have come from God. And as such, we are to be accountable to the Master at the end of our lives.

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30), Jesus told story about the Master who handed his enterprise over to his servants to run for him while he was gone. At the end of his trip, he called them for accounting. The result of their successes and failures are well known to us today.

And that too, are good examples about the necessities of accounting. As stewards, we too, are to be accountable of all our actions, thoughts, commissions and omissions. In giving us all the resources we have, God took the risk of trust. He never minded if we were going to be sincere.

He never cared if we were going to squander all His hard earned and limited resources. He never bothered if we were going to make any accounts or returns to him. He simply gave us, and gave us all. That is enough to make us accountable to Him. Let us begin today.

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