|Talking Spiritually Paul Bayethe Damasane|
|Saturday, 23 June 2012 21:25|
Good stewardship makes great leadersWhen one reads the parable of the talents one is led to the seminal statement Jesus made at the end which says, “. . . he that is faithful in little things shall be made Lord over much!” (Matt 25:14-19).
The very essence of this kingdom parable is that small things matter in leadership and stewardship is one that we need to consider today. The reality is anyone who leads a Church, leads a company, leads a community, leads a non-profit ministry, leads a team, or even a family feels and knows the pressure of responsibility.
In the world we live in, people are obsessed with wanting to know how many, how much, and for how long. Successful leaders are measured by accomplishments. This parable clarifies to us that the essence of leadership is broader than possessing certain skills and expertise. You could have them but still hide them or abuse them. True leadership should be viewed more as stewardship.
To many of us stewardship is merely religious and has no place in the market place — you are wrong my friend! In the ancient world, stewardship was not a religious term. Rather it was a key component of commerce. The whole idea of stewardship relates back to the concept of watching over something for someone else, taking care of something you do not own. Ultimately, stewardship begins and ends with a very clear understanding of how you view your role and who owns it.
Are you the owner or simply the steward for the owner? Is this mine, or am I just taking care of it while the owner is gone?
This will help you shape the framework for what correct Biblical stewardship looks like, whether it is your role in managing your time, your role in cultivating a dream, your role in leading an organisation, your role in managing your money, and more.
More and more global enterprises are embracing this “new” concept of leadership, but many churches seem stuck in the 1980s. Command-and-control pastors emphasise their own vision and authority when they should be stewarding others’ individual talents and potential leadership.
In the Bible, stewardship is the inherent standard to which God calls leaders. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy on the topic of leadership selection for the early church is applicable to leaders in all areas.
The opposite of a leader is not a follower rather it is a passive spectator — someone who waits for others to take responsibility. Rather than stepping forward, a non-leader steps back. Leaders do not wait for someone to tell them what to do. Leaders take the initiative and responsibility to be a faithful steward in God’s Kingdom in both public and private life.
In Greco-Roman culture a household (oikos) was not just a family group or dwelling but the basic economic unit of the community, and it included everyone who lived in or worked at the house or estate. An oikos included immediate and extended family members, slaves, hired servants, skilled workers of various sorts, teachers, and tutors.
The influence of an oikos extended into the community to those who did business with the household. And if a church happened to meet in a house, the influence of the oikos extended to the members of the house church and each of their oikoi too.
The Greek word for stewardship, oikonomia, is a compound of two words: oikos, household, and nomos, which means law or rule. In ancient culture, the words used together meant the administration or management of a household. (We get our English word economy from this compound word.)
The translators of the King James Bible used the English word steward to translate oikonomos. It encapsulates the rich picture of leadership, authority, and accountability.
An oikonomos, or steward, was indeed the “ruler of the house,” but he was not the ultimate ruler.
In fact, in New Testament times the steward was almost always a slave or eunuch to the head of the house. Although he was a slave, he was second in command, entrusted to manage the family and affairs. He was in authority as well as under authority. But — and this is the point of this Greek lesson — the authority granted to him was never to be used for his own self-interest. He was to use it to advance the interests of the master to whom he was accountable.
Seeing leadership through the lens of stewardship is the key to understanding what it means to lead from a biblical perspective. This is authority over people and accountability before God.
The dichotomy of stewardship is that one person owns the resources and the other person is entrusted with those resources. By definition, a steward is accountable to his master for how resources are invested. So how does this apply to us today?
Since God owns all things, he is the Master; he distributes gifts and resources at his discretion. We are stewards, accountable to him for all that we do with all that we are given. When we bury them we are not good stewards at all. The small things matter. Shalom!