Jesus on Leading: Wise Steward
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 about stewardship.
An elderly couple I know—no longer in good health—decided it was time to put their grandson’s name on all their financial and personal records and documents. They chose to make him the steward of their finances—a huge step because he only recently was demonstrating he could take care of his own responsibilities. They wanted to entrust all they had to him.
It was a risky demonstration of trust.But not nearly so risky as God’s decision to entrust the building of the Kingdom of God on earth to our stewardship.
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” (1 Peter 5:2-3)
“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14)
Usually when we talk of stewardship, we think of finances—and that is an important trusteeship. But in keeping with the model and teachings of Jesus on how a leader leads, He calls all of us, and especially leaders, to a broad and important stewardship.
We are to be faithful stewards of all He has entrusted to us.
Let’s look at three of these stewardship responsibilities.
WE STEWARD OURSELVES
Most of us don’t have much trouble giving attention to this first area: ourselves. We want to grow and develop. We take assessments to determine our strengths and gifts. We look for opportunities to stretch and strengthen those gifts and skills.
Often we are doing this just to improve and advance. But this is an appropriate stewardship of the person God made us to be and the good works He has prepared for us to do. He gives us what we need, but we must work to improve.
WE STEWARD OUR RESPONSIBILITIES
So you’ve just been given a big new assignment. You need to evaluate how the team has done, firm up vision and mission, determine some measurements. And bring the project back under budget.You go to work. You want to plan well, make good use of your resources, help the team to work together and accomplish the task. You want to be a good steward of this responsibility. And the same for the next assignment, whether large or small.
Jesus Himself said: "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things." (Matthew 25:23)
WE STEWARD OUR PEOPLE
My daughter was a part-time intern with a youth ministry for two years. Her supervisor is still a hero to me. He had about 6 young interns on his team, and he was incredibly intentional at helping each one have broad ministry experiences and opportunities. My daughter led a small group, spoke at the city-wide meeting, planned a retreat, taught basic training and started the ministry on a campus.The other interns had similar opportunities. And each one came out of that time not only with lots of ministry skills, but also with a strong understanding of their gifts and strengths.
One of my most important responsibilities as a leader is the stewardship of the people God entrusts to me. Those people could report to me at work, or serve with me on a church committee or be partners for a sports team—or be my family. If I influence them in any way, I have responsibility to contribute to their development in small or large ways.
Of course, they carry the major weight of their own growth, but I carry a charge for training, opportunities, correction, challenge and encouragement. I seriously want every person on my team to become who God created them to be and improve in their skills and contributions. So I must be a wise steward of the people in my life.
I am always amazed that God would use me. And even more astounded that He would entrust other people to my leadership. I pray that I will be a good steward of my own life, my responsibilities and the people I influence. When I am a wise steward, I grow, the work or ministry grows and the people grow.
What about you? How are you stewarding what God has entrusted to you?
C2013 Judy Douglass