By Howard Rich
A few weeks ago I attended a small gathering of Christians to learn about and discuss stewardship. Following the conference my wife and I set out on our long drive back to our home. We had purchased this house a little over two months ago, but we had not moved in yet. About two hours into our 12-hour road trip, we received a phone call from the realtor informing us that water was running out of the house down the driveway and into the street. A call to the city’s emergency number informed us the fire department had already been to the house to turn off the water, and because of a hard freeze in the area that day, a water pipe had burst in our attic.
As you can imagine, an unbelievable flurry of ideas and questions entered my mind. If water is running into the street, this must be a serious burst. Who notified the fire department about the leak? How did they know the burst was in the attic? Did they have to break down the door and go inside? What will we find when we get there? How much is this going to cost?
As these thoughts grew and the butterflies started to churn our stomachs, my wife and I knew we needed to stop worrying and start acknowledging God’s control over the situation. I was driving, so we figured it was safer for my wife to pray. She prayed that we would trust Him, that we would walk through the entire process as His representatives, and that we would act as stewards of what He put into our hands.
Over the next few days we had to continually battle the tendency to take back ownership. That process isn’t easy, and we often failed, but I can tell you when we did let go we experienced far more freedom than worry, knowing God is the owner; we are just looking after His interests.
Jesus speaks about following Him over twenty times in the Gospels. The word translated as “follow me” in most of those instances, has as its primary meanings to join as a disciple and to imitate. Jesus was not merely asking these people to line up behind Him and play follow the leader; He was inviting them into a discipleship journey. He was beckoning those He selected to imitate Him. His inner circle of twelve lived with Him day in and day out; eating, drinking, sleeping, praying, and traveling together. Jesus created an environment where He was side-by-side with those He mentored. The apostles saw Jesus model His teachings; therefore, they had a mental image of His leadership in action.
I can’t say my wife and I always acted as stewards instead of owners during our recent crisis, but I firmly believe we were better prepared because God connected us with people who are steward-minded. I thank God I had just come from a meeting about stewardship when I heard the news about the burst water pipe. Accepting God’s invitation to be on a discipleship journey with Him means being around people who are trying to live as His stewards. They have inspired me and helped me see how I could make better decisions with what has been entrusted to me.
What does your inner circle look like? Are you intentionally putting yourself around people who are living lives of stewardship?
Learn the freedom that comes from living life as a steward leader. At The Outcomes Conference: CLA Dallas 2015, Christian Leadership Alliance presents the Intensive Training Institute (ITI) on April 14. This steward leader session may be of interest to you! (Be sure you register for the Academic Experience in order to attend the ITI day!)
This session will be led by R. Scott Rodin, Ph.D, President Rodin Consulting, Inc. and Kent Wilson, Ph.D., Executive Director and Coach Nonprofit Leadership Exchange and Director, CLA Leader2Leader Program