he very reason why stewardship is an absolute must to us is the seed principle. I have talked about that for a moment. You see, my purpose as I have come to discover it did not come to me fully packaged and in one day. There is a process. That is why everything around us can either be a fruit or a seed. Now, [ictt-tweet-inline]our biggest problem is that we have not been able to differentiate between seeds and fruits. We eat seeds thinking they are fruits[/ictt-tweet-inline] and then we end up not having the fruits that we were seeking. Stewardship allows us to take the seeds within our vicinity, plant and cultivate them in order to have very many trees that have very many fruits. [ictt-tweet-inline]You see, in the end, stewardship focuses on “others” more than it focuses on individuals.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
In other words, [ictt-tweet-inline]one of the sole purposes of stewardship is to provide solutions that are blessings to more than just yourself[/ictt-tweet-inline]. Amazingly, those people who are selfish and self centered cannot be termed as “Stewards”. Think about that. Amazingly too, the ultimate purpose of purpose is others. Let me explain. [ictt-tweet-inline]My purpose in life (whatever it is) is for the primary benefit of other people, not myself.[/ictt-tweet-inline] Isn’t that the definition of being “Called” anyway? And isn’t that the reason why many people think that things related with purpose are “woo woo” and super-spiritual? Stewardship allows us to create and build things that will make the world a better place for others.
We have been talking about the several things that we must be good stewards on if we are to fully deploy our purpose. In the previous post, we talked at length about being good stewards of time. In a nutshell, anyone who is living their purpose is a great time steward.
The second area where stewardship is of utmost importance is the area of relationships. In the Christian dating circles, there is lots of emphasis on “getting the right one” before getting married. People go at great lengths to find out if the person they want to marry was ordained by God to be their spouse. They fast and pray wanting to find out if “God spoke” about them getting married. Some seek for confirmation for other people, and others go to extremes of looking for prophets and “men of God” to “confirm” that whoever they are courting is the one meant for them.
I might sound controversial, but part of that drama described above is a bid to lesson the responsibility of stewardship in relationships. Hold on, let me explain. The reason why most people want the perfect spouse is so that they can evade the pain and rigor that comes with misunderstanding in relationships. People want as much little work in relationships as possible…that is why they are prepared to pull all stops to get it right the first time.
Here is what I have learnt. Even God has had it rough. Imagine the all knowing, all present and all powerful God “failed” in his first ever relationship with humans! So what makes you think that you are going to have a perfect one? Now, do not take me wrong. I am not saying that great relationships are a mist or dream. They can be a a reality, but that which makes them great is nothing else but the spirit of stewardship.
Take a look at any relationship that is failing. Whether it is between a parent and a child, a couple, an employer and employee, the greatest cause of a failing relationship is lack of stewardship.
We are social beings. In his book “The 7 Cs of Consulting”, Mick Code discusses a very pertinent issue about relationships, something that was a great revelation to me:
“The time when people actually change all three dimensions (heart, head and hands), is when the change occurs in contact with other people…change is about people and people need it to be personal and hence tend to want social contact. So there needs to be human contact and this needs to be over a period of time…”
I couldn’t have said it better. Virtually everything I ever achieved of greatness can be traced directly to a relationship. The same applies to you. There are very many benefits of relationships. Some of them include:
It is our responsibility to take the relationships that we are in and transform them by way of stewardship. In other words, we are not primarily in relationships for what we can get, but primarily for what we can give. Relationships are the most unpredictable things in the universe. More unpredictable then the stormy money market. Therefore, it calls for courage, understanding, vulnerability, knowledge among other things.
So how do we get to be good stewards of our relationships? I think the first thing we ought to do in order to be good stewards of relationships is to be intentional about it. No relationship happens by itself. No matter how an angel the other person is that you are relating with, you ought to be deliberate about making the relationship work.
This is something that most people need an answer. I believe the following things must be taken into consideration.
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is one of the cardinal commandments. This obviously means that we start by making ourselves healthy so that we can care for others. For the most part, we enter relationships looking for the other party to sort us out. Although they could to some extent, they never will fully sort you out, for they are not God. A good steward of relationships first builds themselves, their self esteem, self concept and self worth to unshakable proportions. Then they are secure enough to offer support to other relationships. Now, I am not saying that you wait until you are that good in order to get into any kind of relationship. That will not work. You are not a hermit. What I am saying is that we ought to build ourselves up for better relationships.
Of the recent past, Emotional Intelligence has been a subject that many corporate organizations have been having consultants speak or train about. A good working relationship is based on the level of understanding you not only have for the other party, but also for yourself. Understanding means that you acknowledge that people are different, and that because they are not like you, they are spoilt. This is perhaps the most daunting task in relationships, understanding one another. We ought to strike a balance. It is a learning curve that we can never graduate from. You have no idea how much I need this, based on my personality and temperament. Those though are excuses. Relationships do suffer, and at times we need to be resilient in being good stewards.
I think the greatest reward in a relationship is that we grow and are nurtured to be better. Now, I am talking about the mutual existence of that relationship, but I am talking to you as an individual. A good relationship steward will ask themselves: “What can I do today/this week/month/year to make so and so in this relationship a better person? How can I help them grow? How can I nurture them an help them deploy their potential?” That’s how you end up being a great steward in a relationship. Notice that the mode of operation here is firmly “Give”, not “Get”.
You think you now people? You have no idea until you get into a relationship of any kind with them. My responsibility as the steward in that relationship is to deliberately grow in knowledge of how the world works, the other persons, needs, preferences, temperament, expectation and so on. It is a continuous thing. Believe me, you might want to give up, but you will have to be patient and resilient. The more you know and the more you use the knowledge you have, the more you are a better steward in that relationship.
Perhaps, this is the greatest of them all for a steward. Relationships provide the greatest exhilaration, joy and fun in life, and at the same time, they supply the most heartbreaking, disillusioning and disappointing outcomes. At times relationships come to the brink of breaking over and over again. To learn to forgive is the greatest form of human maturity, and I do not think anything else compares to it. Forgiveness is given. Not received. This is what I mean: You do not wait for the other party to do something about forgiveness. You make the decision. You should see me typing away as if I do all these things. I am still a student and like Paul the Apostle said one day, “I am the chiefest sinner”…in that department.
Finally, we ought to learn to receive. Learn to receive complements. Learn to receive love. Learn to receive gifts. Learn to receive attention. Learn to receive admiration. Receiving is so powerful in that it grows the person who is giving. A great steward learns how to be a great receiver.
Some relationships require us to be “naked” proverbially before the other. Vulnerability makes way for truth to be spoken and depth in relationships to be realized.
We shall continue with this series in the next post.