Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Offerings of Gratitude
The Role of Stewardship
Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 4:14-16; 3 John 3; Genesis 3:16-18; Revelation 14:6-12; 1 Peter 1:15-16
March 10, 2018
Sometimes the greatest innovations come from the simplest sources. Scientists aiming to create a power supply for implantable devices such as pacemakers found inspiration in the form of a slippery sea creature—the electric eel. Using their shock-producing biochemical system as a guide, researchers developed a device capable of yielding 110 volts. They stacked layers of water-filled gels which encourage the accumulation of ions. This ion gradient creates a significant charging potential which can be harvested for electric power.
“These hydrogels are brought into contact, producing a voltage which scales indefinitely with the number of units stacked in series, and a current (corresponds) with the number of units in parallel,” lead researcher Anirvan Guha explained in a recent paper. The international team created the unique hydrogel layers using 3D-printing technology. They deposited tiny droplets of gel with the precision and resolution to print an array of 2,500 gels on a sheet the size of a normal piece of printer paper. Researchers hope to scale up the device's voltage potential. “Right now, we’re in the range of tens to hundreds of micro-amperes,” says Guha, “which is too low to power most electronic devices.”
The researchers also hope to develop devices that can tap into the ion gradients that naturally exist in the human body, allowing the body’s own biochemical systems to power implantable devices. Guha’s team is one of many working to design self-powered implantable devices. Last year, researchers from UCLA and the University of Connecticut unveiled new technology which promises to capture the body's kinetic energy and convert it into usable electricity. 
Often, mechanical devices and the power needed to operate them are in very close proximity, but the link between the power source and the machine is missing. This week’s lesson looks at the role of stewardship in the grand plan of salvation. In a sense, stewardship is the link that pumps the fuel—the funds—that powers the gospel engine. All the resources needed to empower the work of sharing the gospel of the kingdom to the world are as close as a wallet, a checkbook, or an online giving app. Stewardship is the action that fills the gospel fuel tank.
When Christ is the center of everything we are, the stewardship link is a natural part of life. Jesus provides the fuel to power every aspect of our lives. God gives us the energy and the opportunity to work and earn a living. God also manages the openings for us to share the gospel with those who need to hear it. But God does not forcefully operate the fuel pump between our resources and the gospel need. True stewardship flows from grateful hearts, motivated by our love for Jesus. It’s up to us to activate that stewardship link and provide power for the gospel engine to run smoothly and effectively.