I have heard that great visionary Myles Munroe declare the following:
“Where there is no management, God retards growth”
Now think about that for a minute. My definition of stewardship is simply “working faithfully in the moment”. Why do I say, “In the moment?” Because for the most part, stewardship might not necessarily be for what you love. This is what I mean: The very first “assignment” you are given might not be for your dream job or what you are passionate about in life.
I will never forget so many years ago when I got my very first “assignment.” I was a fresh Higher Diploma Graduate in Management Information Systems. I had registered at an employment bureau and all I did those days was to wait for the phone to ring so I can dash for an interview. We didn’t have mobile phones those days, but that’s a story for another day. I would attend as many interviews as I would be invited for, and I failed for most of them. There is however one that I will never forget.
The organization was looking for someone with “experience in IT”. I was gleeful. I showed my credentials as well as previous little assignments that I had done at school. The small group of my interviewers (they pulled seats together in the office from their cubicles and gave me an impromptu interview in the office), declared that I was fit for the job.
Presently, I was assigned to a lady Intern at this oil and gas industry. What happened next shocked me. She brought a pair of gloves, a gas mask and white lab coats. She took me to a cellar upstairs, forgotten, dingy, dark and dirty. My assignment? To scurry through the dumped old files of the organization, go through each piece of paper in those files and find a particular phrase in between the sentences. It turns out that the organization was being sued and they needed as much information as possible.
As I tackled my first assignment with the help of this lady, my mind started to wheel over things. Here I was, having waited with bated breath for an “assignment” to come my way. And when it did, here was I, having studied all those years and specialized in Management Information Systems, working in a cellar with a dust coat!
When this lady that I was working with left, it took me few seconds to ponder my fate. I started sobbing heavily of what had become of my life. I honestly thought that I was a total failure and that I would never amount to anything in my life. And you see, that was my greatest mistake. I thought that the very first assignment that I should get should be one that checks all the boxes of my dream job. I never looked at this assignment as a passing cloud, an opportunity to grow and learn in life in some way. That’s why I wept. Frankly, I did not know what I do know today. Even where I am seated right now is not necessarily where I am supposed to be. It is about growth through stewardship.
I have come to learn that purpose comes to use in bits and pieces, and every disconnected thing that we find ourselves in always comes back to connect to the original purpose that we were intended to fulfill. Our biggest problem is that we look at money at all times and forget other benefits that things that we do not cherish bring into our lives.
We have said and we will keep saying it: Purpose does not come fully formed. It grows. What better way of growing (even if not connected to purpose) than to be perfectly faithful in the present assignment? I mean, there are things that you might not like doing now, but the decision you made to be a great steward will enable you to grow and develop in ways that will eventually connect to your purpose. Purpose gets connection through the following ways:
Anyone who has the above will tell you how invaluable they are in their personal and professional life.
For some reason, people want to see what victories you have under your belt before they can trust and respect you. I mean, respect comes by default, but after that, it has got to be earned. Being a steward, you have the opportunity to show how good a manager of resources you are. And the world always takes note and always remembers and always rewards. The greatest currency in progress in life is trust you have of other people as well as their respect. There is no better way of earning both than being an excellent steward. This stewardship will somehow connect you to your purpose through the respect and trust you have earned yourself.
Promotion will always come to those who have qualified. I am talking about a law of life. The law of promotion is the same as the law of growth. When you are faithful at this level, not only do you grow and expand in capacity, but the world creates room to accommodate your growth. So your stewardship in the current position gives you the clout and opens up the road to linking you up to your purpose. Remember it is progressive.
When you are interviewing people for a job, you always want to know the kind of experience they have. Why? Because it tells you that you are not dealing with a non starter. The mistake people make is to think that the experience you are looking for is in the exact position you are interviewing them for. That’s why people do not go out of their way to do “unrelated” things to their purpose pursuit, especially if that is the only thing available. However, making yourself available for a task and making a decision to be a good steward does not go unnoticed. It prepares you in different ways than you expected, and gives you experience.
A leader is necessarily someone who is tasked with something, and achieves it through others. At times, being a steward can either prepare you to be an excellent leader or it can make a leader out of you immediately. A leader is not necessarily a government official or a politician. A leader can be a boy at home who has been given the responsibility of cleaning utensils for example. In being a steward, one is given the opportunity to first lead themselves. Self leadership is critical in ascension into your purpose.
The very fact that you are gaining experience through stewardship means that your story of purpose becomes believable. We have people around the world cramming, copying and pasting other people’s stories. I will never forget meeting a certain “coach” in town. In our 3 minutes conversation, he kept dropping huge names of other coaches and asking me if I knew them. To me, he lacked authenticity to the core. What stewardship does is give you related personal stories that you would not have accumulated otherwise. Nothing scares people away than inauthentic people, and your authenticity is critical to purpose pursuit.
In the next post, we shall talk about different ways in which we must be stewards. One thing that stands out though is that doing something that is not necessarily your purpose gives you ideas all round. It is the same way when a person who has lived or traveled to different locations. They have vast experience as compared to one who hasn’t. Stewardship gives you that ability to have a larger look at things. I can tell you that much as purpose is tightly focused, it’s deployment is normally beneficial when you have your mind opened up from experience. That is what stewardship gives you.
So, in your pursuit of purpose, probably you have not arrived there yet. My call is that you will be faithful in the current assignment. Always ask yourself, “is this my best?”