Yesterday, I began a brief series on a biblical metaphor of leadership, that of the steward leader. The steward leader in the ancient near east was usually a trustworthy slave who was put in charge of an estate by the master of that estate. The steward leader in that setting would rule over the other slaves and have the authority and responsibility to manage well all of the other resources available on that estate. The expectation was to grow those resources.
When this concept is applied to leadership in Scripture, what do we see? What is the role of the steward leader? What are the precious resources entrusted to him that he must actively manage well? According to the Bible, there are three primary things that the spiritual leader is to steward.
1. The Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul talks about being regarded as a “steward of the mysteries of God.” In 1 Corinthians 9:16-18 Paul states that he has been “entrusted with a stewardship.” He goes on to explain that this stewardship is the gospel itself. When Paul speaks of the mysteries of God he speaks of the gospel being revealed. For Paul this is the Gospel in all of its fulness. Remember, in 1 Corinthians he is writing primarily to followers of Christ. Therefore, this is the good news of the cross event for believers and unbelievers. In Colossians 1:24-29 Paul speaks of stewarding the “the Word of God fully, the mystery now revealed.” He further elaborates by stating that this mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The end result from this passage is that we “might present everyone mature in Christ.” Paul clearly sees himself as a steward leader of the Gospel of Christ. We too must see that this is the primary resource we have as spiritual leaders. This is precious resource that we must manage well.
2. Their Spiritual Gifts. Peter also speaks of being a steward leader. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter states, “As each as received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Peter goes on to say that we must use these gifts according to God’s power and for his glory. We are to manage well the spiritual gifts that have been given to us for the Master’s purposes and to His glory.
3. Their Calling. In Ephesians 3:1-3, Paul reminds these believers that he was given a stewardship towards the Gentiles regarding the Gospel. I believe that Paul is making a direct reference back to his Damascus Road experience when he was converted to Christ and commissioned by Christ to go to the Gentiles. This was a direct calling on Paul’s life. He saw it as a divine stewardship. A call is always an invitation to something that God has placed before us. There are general callings to all believers. There are also specific callings to each believer. We must manage well our unique invitation into Christ’s mission for our lives.
If we are to see ourselves as slaves who are wholly owned and fully surrendered, then we must see those resources that have been entrusted to us as a precious deposit. We must actively invest and manage them well. The Master expects us to do so through his power and for his glory.
What are your thoughts?