Posts tagged ‘stewardship’

August 5, 2010

Relational Stewardship and The God Perspective

As a father of seven, with quadruplets in the middle you might say I have become the experienced conductor of a large domestic locomotive. Nearly nine years now as an at home dad for teens to toddlers, 4 girls, three boys with four at one time might just have given me a bit of insight but you tell me.

Parenting, to my thinking is a trust executed as an art. It is practiced with intention, instincts, passion and planning or it becomes something akin to a train wreck. The wreckage of which is not twisted cars and broken rails but warped lives and ruined futures. There are so many opinions, how-to’s, materials and experts in the parenting universe. How does a well intentioned mom or dad tell if they have their family on the right tracks? Well, I suggest you might try to consider this; see yourself as a relational steward working from a God perspective.

Now I know a lot of folks just run away at the mention of terms like Stewardship or God these days. So, as a courtesy to those that may find an unintentional offense at my terminology, do this little intellectual exercise if you feel you must. Whenever I use the word “Steward” mentally insert the word “Conservation” and for my use of the word “God” just mentally insert the word “Useful”. Feel free to cut and paste this whole rant into your word processor of preference, title it “Relational Conservation from the Useful Perspective” and edit it up before consumption. Then judge my rhetoric, zeal and advice as to whether they affect any meaningful persuasion. Don’t just tune-out because of one little word! That would not be well, not “useful” to anyone.
I am convinced that nearly all parents have a genuine desire to do the best for their kids. However, for many, due in part to the tidal wave of materials, services and advice offered some have become too performance driven. This creates a restless “how do I stack up” mentality. Indeed parenting for some seems almost competitive. These find their focus becoming askew if not careful. Their efforts gradually more driven by appearances and anxieties than by healthy attainable goals based on the near and far term.

Also as families world-wide are breaking down. Sociologist and other researchers have shown that much of the dysfunction is generationally related. If one is raised by parents or a parent struggling with, poverty, addiction or some other challenge their children are most likely to as well. If children are raised with no standard or poor standards of behavior, low expectations of success or little true acceptance their probability of recreating these conditions is sadly almost assured.
These are two distinct sets of parenting groups. One set hyper motivated, insecure and performance driven. The other set under motivated, generationally dysfunctional with grave situational and societal challenges. Both groups have this in common a misplaced focus and distorted view of success. This is where my wife and my use of relational stewardship from the God perspective has kept us on track and on schedule.
Every individual has given talents and abilities. They also have given relationships. We do not get to choose our parents and siblings. Our family of origin is out of our control. Yet as seasons pass we will take our turns in the parade of parents and generations. This is God’s perspective. The parade goes on and on and He sees it all. He sees it in whole. It is hard for people to think this way but the effort is very useful.
You see that family of origin that we could not control may have given us some bruises and broken templates to build upon. We have the power to not allow an out of control spiral to continue by changing the goal-line. All we were given, the good and bad we must steward, manage and utilize. We do this in light of what the parade was like before us and how we want it to look after we turn the corner and fade from ground level view.

To do this we must make relationships the priority. The materialism of our time is deceiving. The toys and technology will breakdown. The opinions and approval of other will shift and wane. The cars, homes and clothes will age and fashions change. The relationships and the seasons we are given will ever be a part of the parade. Our ability to shape and direct them relies on the priority and focus we give them. Not recreating the dysfunction, changing the downward spirals and ending the anxiety driven, image motivated and competitive relational approach make God’s perspective a place where approval can be found and becomes healthy.
Perhaps this sounds simplistic all I can tell you is it come with practice. Take a quiet moment to reflect on where your family train is heading. Consider what that parade looks like once you get past street level. Where ever you are along the line and down the boulevard change is just a purposed mental step away if you can get the right perspective. From my unique perception this might be the most useful if not Godly thing any of us can do.

July 22, 2010

Can God Trust You?

How much do you think God Trusts you? What does God trust you with? Would you like more from God? Do you think you could handle more? What would you say is too much for you to handle? These and other ponder provoking questions could be part of a savvy Gallup or George Barna group survey but no. These are just small pieces in of one of the major points of development that God wants expanded in every believer, Stewardship!!!

Stewards are the most trusted servants, the guys with all the keys. The first use in the Bible is where Abraham is lamenting having no son. The closet thing he has is Eliezer his steward who was his heir if no son was forth coming. The last use is Paul writing to Titus using steward of God to describe the function of a Bishop then listing the traits needed to be a Bishop/Steward. So you see Stewardship is a pretty big deal.

If properly understood Stewardship is literally foundational to our spiritual growth. If misunderstood well, consider the following. As men why does God give us wandering eyes and heavy libidos that are their weightiest when we are youngest and most foolish? God is not cruel or foolish but He does expect us to possess our own vessels. It is not supposed to be easy nor are we expected to be perfect, it is the effort and humility to reach beyond ourselves towards God for strength. In admitting weakness but not excusing our shortcomings we balance reliance on His Grace with our desire and responsibility to please and obey Him in humility.

This is how we progress in stewardship, part by God’s Grace and refiner’s fire and part by self-control and meekness, strength under control. Believing in His Grace and Faithfulness without abusing it and walking humbly within our abilities are what God is looking for in His Stewards. These are part of a foundation of character He can add to and build on.

As men we need to look back to that letter from Paul to Titus. What he gives greatest and first priority to for Titus in his search for; Bishops, stewards, elders, those that are qualified to be in spiritual service and leadership is that they have a successful marriage and family. Can they possess their vessels, love their wives as Christ loved the church, sacrificially that is, and in harmony raise Godly children? Then do people speak well of them? Can they handle their own money and not be greedy? So forth and so on.

God will put things in our lives and some under our stewardship. The first are our gifts, abilities and natural drives. Second are Christ, His Word and Holy Spirit to redeem and lead us away from the first gifts being our destruction. The second set guides us towards offering the first set back to Him in thankful submission and humble service. After this the key to having more keys in The Kingdom is having the self-control and sacrificial love about you to be a loving husband and father. You might remember that God has called Himself “a husband to the “widow” and “Father” to us all. This is His Heart and a high and needed Call in our carnal self-serving times.

So before you blast off to do your boys-night-out or softball practice or consider strategy over the stringer of lovelies you might be juggling. Ask yourself, do I want more of God and from God? Then consider how well you are handling your vessel and foundational relationships. If He cannot trust us with the things of this world do not expect much Heavenly power and responsibility to be coming your way here or in eternity. You might also remember what happened to the guy that put his talent in the ground. He lost it all but remember he chose to put in the ground.

After all this sanctimony, seriously consider the priority God places on family. Consider the example of sacrificial love that He sat before us. How much are you willing to give up? This is what determines how much you will receive. How much do you think you can handle, Brother? You might be surprised to find out that God has more faith and hope in you than you do.