Jesus on Leading: Stewarding Those Closest to Us
Beginning with an earlier post about Authentic Leadership, or Taking our Cues on Leading from Jesus, I am doing a series of posts about some of the heart qualities of leadership that Jesus exhibited and exhorted us to. Today’s post is a second one about stewardship.
Leading is largely about influence, not power and authority. And when it comes to those closest to us, our family members, influence is powerful.
When my children were young I did what I naturally did: I made a plan.I made a plan for how my husband and I could make sure our children would be encouraged and equipped to become the women God created them to be.
It was more of a guideline filled with ideas than a detailed, structured, timeline.Why a plan for 2- and 4-year-old girls? Because we had a strong sense that, since God had entrusted these two girls to us, we had a calling to be good stewards of their lives.
As parents we had a lot of say and sway over their lives. We wanted to make sure we were attentive to who God had made them and how to help them discover that for themselves.We looked at different areas of life: spiritual, character, social, intellectual, creative, physical, financial, heritage. We listed ideas of different approaches and activities to stimulate growth.
Sometimes we scheduled specific activities to encourage development: soccer team, art and music lessons, “field trips,” family devotions. We had lots of books and read together every day. Art supplies abounded. Mostly we stayed alert to opportunities for “learning moments.”
Periodically we would review how we and they were doing, making adjustments, refocusing, being intentional about ways to be good stewards of these precious treasures. And of course as the girls grew, the plan changed.
Some people we knew were much more structured; others were more casual. Our approach certainly was not perfect, but it was comfortable and mostly effective for us.
My husband and I also have taken seriously our stewardship responsibilities for each other. We are committed to contributing in many ways to the growth and development and effectiveness of the other.
My husband is my greatest fan. He thinks I can do almost anything (as long as it doesn’t involve math or fixing things). He speaks affirming words to me. He encourages me to try new things, to accept challenging opportunities. He brainstorms ideas with me. He listens (lots) to my dreams and hopes and fears and failures.
Then he puts feet to it: He often took the children so I could pursue a ministry opportunity. When I was writing a book, he took on more home responsibilities. Because he is a natural picker upper, and I am not, he takes care of the clutter I leave. He prays for me. And at this season of life, he has become a wonderful coach.
In the same way, God has enabled me to be a good steward of my husband. It’s not hard—I am amazed at his intelligence and giftedness and leading skills. I am even more in awe of his humility, his wisdom, his godliness. So I can readily affirm him and encourage him in his work and ministry.
He often asks me how he did in speaking or teaching, or how to improve something he has written. I am a natural editor, and he constantly looks for feedback. I have the privilege of helping him see how he could do something better. I try to give him positive and constructive input—and he is grateful.
I’m just skimming the surface in all of this. I hope you get some ideas of how you can influence the people closest to you to grow and develop into the people God created them to be. But mostly I hope we all remember that we are stewards of the people God has entrusted to us. I want to hear in this area as well as others of life and ministry: “Well done, good and faithful steward.”
What about you? What are ways you can be a steward of those closest to you?
C2013 Judy Douglass