If you are anything like me, when you think about entering Jesus’ presence in heaven I am sure you desire to hear what He said to the good stewards in the Parable of the Talents, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Have you ever thought about what Jesus would say to you when He examines how you handled the leadership responsibilities He entrusted to you? Jesus taught the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 to illustrate His people are stewards, not owners.
In the parable, the owner entrusts resources into the hands of servants to be used for the owner, who would eventually reclaim his resources. As managers it was not enough to hold onto the resources, but the managers needed to increase the owner’s estate; each steward was responsible for investing the assets in ways beneficial to the owner.
Use Your Dot to Invest in Others ————->
Leadership, just like any other aspect of a Christian’s life, is a gift on loan from God to be used for His Kingdom. We are His representatives, owning nothing, and controlling nothing. In his book, The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn illustrates a person’s life on earth in terms of a dot and a line.
The line represents the continuum of time and the dot represents time on earth in relation to the line of eternity. Alcorn uses this particular illustration to demonstrate how foolish it is to lay up treasures on earth when our lives on earth represent such a finite moment in time.
This image of the dot and the line is useful when discussing leadership development. A leader can increase the impact of his or her dot by developing as many people as possible, investing in them and influencing them from a Biblical steward’s perspective. As a leader invests in, equips, empowers, and launches new leaders, the dot on the line of time eternal extends beyond the leader’s lifetime.
Self-Focus Hinders Eternal Investment —>
A steward leader can know he is endowed with the responsibility and authority to lead, while also acknowledging his leadership and influence is on loan and expendable. However, a leader cannot consistently and effectively empower and develop others while remaining self-focused. Steward leaders do not require an increase in their worth or an increase in their position. Their worth is wrapped up in Christ as they grow and develop those under their leadership care. This focus creates freedom to help others without worrying about our own position and standing.
Invest Beyond Yourself———————————>
A steward leader will make sure there is a well thought-out and strategically implemented plan for leadership development and empowerment. Leaders are not leading if they do not empower those under their stewardship to accomplish their common mission. When we view our role as a steward, we can see the position we occupy is not ours; it is God’s and we only do His bidding.
Understanding leadership in terms of stewardship sets the leader free to invest in others, equipping those under their care to succeed and influence the world around them for Christ on the line of eternity.
How will you invest in those under your stewardship?
Howard Rich is the President of Steward Development Group, a leadership training and coaching firm established to help business professionals discover the freedom of generosity and stewardship. He is also the founder of Bigger Shovel, a not-for-profit organization designed to cultivate steward leaders and increase joyful giving in the non-profit sector.