I will say this for a start: Of all the species alive today, it is the human that has the sole responsibility for stewardship.There is no single responsibility for the human save that of stewardship. Nothing can be of greater importance to the life of a human but stewardship. It allows us to use the seed principle and make what is good better and what is better best. In other words, most of the things we receive in life are seeds, not fruits. I think if we understood that principle, life would be interesting in how we approach it:
I think the greatest misconception we have is that stewardship is only for leaders. At the height of this mindset, we have people thinking that the answer to their predicament in life is the government. They have no idea that the highest and most potent form of governance is self governance. And you know what that spells? It simply spells “Stewardship”. Secondly, the greatest misconception of stewardship is seen when people run helter skelter from one “man of God” to another, seeking miracles. God does not predominantly work with miracles. God works with Goals. “I want 7 Billion Sons and Daughters”. Let me start with one man, and supply him with seeds. Let him be a good steward and grow to 7 Billion others. Where is the miracle there? But I digress.
As a human race, our mandate will always be to be productive, to “scale” (that means to replicate the productivity as far and wide as possible), to dominate (that means to maintain the productivity at an ever increasing upward trend), to take charge ( that means to weed out any contrary dissenters and opposers of our productivity) so that we can deploy the beauty of ultimate purpose on earth.
In other words, there is no way we can do all the above without stewardship. Notice also that there are no job titles in that mandate for humanity. The only highest title I could give is “Steward”, or “Manager”. Yes, we might need to learn our role and get equipped to deploy it. The problem I have with our world today is that we are busy equipping people to survive but not to be good stewards . We are channeling people towards self preservation instead of stewardship. There are 8 paramount areas that I believe we all must be good stewards of, regardless of our status or position in life. I believe that if we are good stewards in this 8 areas, we move inherently towards deploying our full potential and our purpose.
These have not been arranged in any particular order of importance. I could also not say that they are all of equal importance, but I can say that they are all paramount. This means that we must all look at them, know them and look for ways in which we can be good stewards.
“All of us get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No more. No less. The richest person in the world cannot buy an extra hour in the day. No amount of willpower can add an extra day to the week. No matter how high the demand, the supply of time will never increase. Ever. This is a brutal fact we must all reckon with. We can always find more money to get something done or hire more people to help us with a project. But the single most limiting factor in the completion of our objectives is time. It is our scarcest resource and must be managed that way”
~Stephen G. Fairley
There is probably nothing to add to this great submission by Stephen Fiarley. However, our greatest area of stewardship, greater than anything else in my estimation is our management of time. Someone said that time being that scarce resource, we cannot necessarily manage it. We can only manage the events that happen within the time that we have. They therefore claim that “time management” is a myth. I tend to agree. But how are we going to be great stewards of time?
Several things come to mind. Given that we are not necessarily managing the time but rather the events that happen within time, our focus ought to be on those events in relation to the time that we have. This brings us to three or four critical aspects of being good with our stewardship of time:
If you really want to talk about Stewardship of time, you must necessarily define what exactly you want to do within the given time. Now, doing things for the sake of doing them can be a very discouraging thing. That is why we need to identify the “why” behind the tasks that we are doing. Towards what end am I praying for example? Towards what end am I giving or not giving time to my wife and children? When I identify this why, then all of a sudden the time allocated for it becomes extremely important to me.
Once the why is identified, it is important to determine what is needed to be done and the frequency of doing it. This forms the goals. That is why it is important to first define your vision and mission before starting to set goals. The reason why many goals do not work is that people do not know why they want to set those goals in the first place. As long as there is no overwhelming “why”, goals turn into resolutions that are never followed up. A good steward therefore is one who sets goals based on their dominant “why”.
These are the activities that we do on a daily basis. Someone said that there is a massive difference between motion and progress. Again, doing things just for the sake of doing is not good stewardship. The events or activities of our day must of course cascade from our goals, which themselves have come from our “why.”
I love this. Good stewardship has an element of urgency. You and I will not be alive forever. We do not have eternity to raise our kids. We only have a short window of time. I do not have eternity to write my books. I only have a short window of time. There is nothing that brings urgency to our work like deadlines do. Good stewardship practice has an end date in mind. You cannot talk of time management without having some deadlines. The most purposeless person you ever saw has no deadline for anything in their lives. Think about that.
These are the results we show for the time and days of our lives. Have you ever seen someone holding a particular position for decades and there is nothing to show of it? What does that speak in terms of stewardship? Were they good stewards of time? Remember, you cannot manage time, but the activities within the time. Frankly it is increasingly frustrating to see people come to the end of their lives and there is nothing to show of it apart from the people they have sired and the survival in life that they have mounted. True stewardship has great fruits of productivity along with it. Most people call that legacy. Legacy is a result of great stewardship of time. Nothing more and nothing less.
We shall carry this on in the next post.