This is my word for 2019.
“Stewardship – the careful and responsible management of things entrusted to one’s care.”
It began with my search for “calling.” This elusive term widely used in Christian communities. What is my calling? Searching like I’m looking for a single destination – a parking spot for my life.
A calling is not as clear-cut and pretty as I would like. It’s not a single talent or gift. It’s not just the now and it’s not just the future. My calling is a life lived for Jesus. This is the call of discipleship (This is a great post on discipleship), applicable to every believer.
Calling is seasonal and a journey. You are called to the present AND the Holy Spirit might have placed a future calling on your heart as well.
It’s simpler to leave calling in the future. It is easier when your “impact” is set for a future date and you think you can just wait for the work that “really matters” to begin. You can’t.
God doesn’t waste; that is one thing I’ve learned. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and He has a purpose for you in all of those.
To be clear, God doesn’t NEED you or me or anyone; He is God. He CHOOSES to use us, should we decide to take up our cross and follow Him.
“He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”
While there is a future I feel called to, my present was once my future calling: marriage, motherhood, ministry and school. Some of these will always be a part of my calling, but the season is still unique. The ages and needs of my children, my husband’s individual season, needs in our community are what make this time in life unique. I am called to steward my present calling with excellence.
Excellence is a word that is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the culture grows more failure-centric in the name of authenticity. (Disclaimer: I am FOR cultivating authenticity online and in real life. Authenticity is not synonymous with using the internet masses as a personal therapist or only sharing failure. Authenticity should mean a type of transparency in a person, but that is a post for another day.)
Excellence is not to be confused with perfection.
Excellence comes from the heart’s motivation to give something your all. Perfection is an illusion that it is easy to chase with the hope that it will impress.
Stewarding with excellence is completely reliant on abiding in Christ, not my ability to force a to-do list. Believe me, to-do lists will be involved, but that isn’t what makes stewardship excellent. Kelsey Van Kirk has a fantastic podcast on this topic and she articulates it beautifully; you can listen to it HERE.
Before I can break down my present calling, I have to know WHO I am. I am made to worship and glorify God in everything I do. I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, writer and student. These are roles that I fill, but my identity is not reliant upon them. WHO I am is this…
I am LOVED. I am SAVED. I am COMMISSIONED.
I have gifts, relationships, and time to use wisely.
I’m slowly learning that excellent stewardship is less of a checked off to-do list of all the “supposed to have dones” and is instead a soul satisfied in Christ, looking to share Him in everything they do.
This idea of excellence changes the idea of stewardship from something that defines me, to something that comes out of me.
Sometimes, this can mean moving slowly, making time for rest, and having plenty of margin. If my schedule and tasks are too jam packed to have margin, then I have already blocked God’s leading out of my schedule. If I leave margin in my life and dedicate to Christ, He WILL show up. It is in those margins that ministry often happens, both to us and through us.
Other times it means working hard and getting out of my comfort zone. Being able to tell if it is a time to slow down or a time to speed up can often be determined by spending time with the Lord. Nehemiah had a pattern of prayer and then action, prayer and then action, in rhythm with God’s will. I can’t think of more well spent life then that.
Stewardship can (& does) break down into tangible tasks, but the heart of stewardship is what makes the difference. It changes making dinner for the family from mundane to a part of my calling, my purpose. It becomes a way to glorify God.
This isn’t to suggest that making dinner and doing mundane tasks becomes easier. It doesn’t, but it becomes purposeful.
While it is easier to live in the promise of future calling (& I will to a point), this is the year I learn about taking responsibility for my present calling. I want to be motivated by a faithful heart of stewardship that comes from abiding in Christ.
“Eyes fixed above, I am presently called to worship Christ; loving others and stewarding my time, talent, relationships and resources with excellence.”