Being the Best “for” the World
It should go without saying, “Leaders are not owners” but sometimes a leader can project a sense of ownership. Regardless of one’s role, the part a steward-leader plays is more about relationships than a position he or she holds. Leaders are stewards of God’s purposes and resources, and that always involves others. Such stewardship can inspire and even change history itself. This was the case when Jahaziel reminded King Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chr. 20:15). David had spoken similar words when facing Goliath (1 Sam. 17:47). In his book, Leadership Prayers, Richard Kriegbaum reflects this insight in a leader’s prayer:
Understanding one’s own stewardship can be the very avenue God will use to bless and empower others to develop their own abilities. A steward-leader’s mission is never confined to his own interests.
“This is my one incessant prayer to you, hour by hour, day upon day: It’s yours. I am not fighting this battle for you, God. It’s your battle, and you are fighting for me. It is all yours, and I want whatever you have for me in this situation. . . . It is not my organization it is yours, so I depend on your Spirit to show me what to do. These are not my people. I chose them and organized their efforts, but they do not belong to me. You entrusted them to my leadership, and they agreed to follow me. They deserve more and sometimes expect more of me than I can give them. . . . So much depends on me, yet all I have for this task is whatever health and energy you give me—my eyes, ears, back, heart, lungs, knees, hands, feet, voice” (p. 6).
Such are the reflections of a steward-leader. Understanding one’s own stewardship can be the very avenue God will use to bless and empower others to develop their own abilities. A steward-leader’s mission is never confined to his own interests.
Have you ever stopped at an airport bookstore and looked at the books in the business section? It doesn’t take long before it becomes clear that what’s inside is often an emphasis on “self-focus.” A theme that runs through these make-shift libraries seems to be clear: How to find wealth, success and significance. To substantiate such an emphasis, noted individuals of success are profiled. Yet the One who changed the world modeled a different kind of leadership. Those who wrote about Him in Scripture concluded: As a successful leader He was humble. He was not self-focused. He lived for the good of others (Phil. 2:5-11). Dewitt Jones, a renowned photographer-philosopher, said it well. It’s not about being the best in the world but rather “being your best for the world.” Such is the hallmark of a true steward-leader.
This issue of the Dynamic Steward is about the steward-leader as he or she hears the call from Christ to serve. The shepherd’s rod featured on the cover of this issue is a reflection not only of a leader’s authority but also the care used to defend and guide the sheep. As you read you will explore different facets of being a steward-leader. The challenge is great but no bigger than the One who has called us. In Him we become the best we can be for the world.