Summary: Stewardship is a key aspect of Servant Leaders
Servant Leadership Part 14
I am going to begin with an uncomfortable question today. Are you a giver or a taker? I want you to give this a serious thought. Take a moment to think about the last week and make a mental list of what all you have taken and what all you have given. Think of material things, think of non material things. Think of love, think of care, think of time, think of support, think of comforting words, think of encouragement, think of food , think of clothing, think of money. Which side do you find the balance tilting towards?
I have been speaking on the topic of Servant Leadership whenever I get a chance to speak here. As I had indicated in my earlier sermons, there are ten Servant Leadership Characteristics and Stewardship is one of them.
There are two aspects of Stewardship. One is the community aspect, and the other is the individual aspect. The community aspect is less controversial. So let us see that first. Servant Leaders are expected to understand and know that that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 104). Hence Servant Leaders are expected behave like stewards of the things on earth and not as owners. Servant Leaders are also expected to understand that god has given us all different roles and all roles have an equally important part to play in the Kingdom of God. Paul takes great pains in explaining about unity in diversity using the metaphor of the body and it’s part in 1Corinthians 12:4-31. He stresses the point that all are equally important in the Church, but they are meant to be diverse. Thus Servant Leaders believe that in all institutions CEO’s, staff, directors, janitors, drivers, cooks and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.
That is when we are the leader of an organisation, leader of a community etc. But remember, we are all leaders in the sphere of life that God has called us to. We are called to influence others (1 Peter 2:12. John 15:16) and going by the definition that “Leadership is Influence” we are all called to be Leaders, once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. So the question is what does Stewardship mean to us as individuals? What does Stewardship mean to us at a personal level?
This is where I come back to the question that I started with. Are we a giver or a taker? I might have told you this story before, but I am going to repeat it here. There was a man pushing a pram with a baby in it. The baby was screaming, crying, throwing tantrums etc. the man kept on telling “Keep cool Andrew. Keep Cool Andrew”. A lady walking by saw this dialogue between the father and son, and was impressed. She knelt down and played with the baby and said to him , “Andrew, you have a good dad”. The father told her. “Madam, thank you, His name is Antony, I am Andrew”. So if any of you get angry with what I am about to say, please remember to keep your cool.
Are you a giver or a taker? Believe me, there are no other options in this multiple choice question. There are only two options, one can either be a giver or a taker. The answer, as the song goes, might be blowing in the wind. Let us think about how we pray. How often do we ask to be blessed and how often do we ask to be made a blessing for others? How often do we ask to be healed, than ask for an opportunity to heal some one else? How often do we ask for travel mercies than to be merciful to others while we travel?
Let us take this a level down. What is our attitude to giving? A common approach to giving is, once we give some thing, we are parting with it from what we have. Our self worth reduces by the quantity that we give. This equation makes us poorer every time we give. The equation is simple. I have Rs 1000 with me. I give Rs 100 as offertory, I end up being poorer by that much and I am left with Rs 900 only with me after that. I am poore by Rs 100/- .The fact is that we do not have the same view when we put in that Rs 100/- in bank account or buy an asset with it. You see we then consider it as an investment. That is a key difference. If we give, with the mentality of being poorer due to that act, we have the scarcity mentality. This type of giving could be driven by charity, sentiments, peer pressure, recognition or even guilt. Some of us extend this equation to even non material things, like love, patience etc. This leads us to hoard what we have. This is the taker mentality.