The more I read, study and write about the steward leader, the more often I find myself scratching my head and saying, “really?” This is pretty radical stuff.
And as such, the more we seek to fully embrace the call to be steward leaders the more we will be considered rather strange people. That’s because to the culture around us our values appear to be all screwed up. Live in this world as a faithful steward leader and most people just won’t get you, including some in your own ministry or church.
The reason is that the values of the kingdom of God define the ‘right-side up’ life in an upside-down world. This is no subtle shift, it is a revolution in leadership. Yet too often, despite our genuine desire to be steward leaders, we hold onto the old worldly, upside-down values and miss out on all that God has for us. Here are just four examples of the difference in these two kingdom ways of thinking and leading.
Which one most typifies your leadership?
Kingdom of the WORLD thinking
- You work in order to earn the money you need to afford the things that bring you fulfillment and joy, such as vacations, leisure activities and eventually retirement, when you have earned the right to finally quit working and enjoy life.
- You enter into the ‘battles’ in your work and life so that once you’ve won, once you’ve succeeded, you can enjoy the abundant life God promised us.
- If God would change the circumstances around you that are painful, frustrating and hard you would really be happy, which is what God desires for you.
- You either move forward or you die. So you have to put in the hard work and long hours in order to grow. From growth comes success, and from success comes happiness.
Kingdom of GOD thinking
- Your work is the source of our greatest fulfillment and joy. God created you to work in partnership with Him regardless of our vocation. All work is sacred when it is done for His glory, and therefore it is fulfilling, joyful and an act of pure worship.
- The abundant life is found in the battle. It is when you are most fully engaged in the struggle for truth, righteousness, justice and faith that you are most fully alive in Christ. Success is not in winning the battles but in engaging in them more fully and faithful.
- If God would change me so that in every painful, frustrating and difficult experience I could see His hand at work and be used by Him as an agent of peace, reconciliation and truth, I would really be content, which is what God desires for me.
- We are either obedient or all we do is futile. So we abide in Christ in order to know his will. From knowledge comes faithfulness, and from faithfulness comes contentment and joy.
He who finds his life will lose it.
He who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Dr. Scott Rodin has been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for twenty-five years. He has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the country and in Canada and Great Britain including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at Kingdom Life Publishing.
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