Leaders are simply stewards of the resources God has given them. Read Luke 19:11-26.
During His public ministry Jesus often told stories that illustrated a principles for life. In one of these stories Jesus told about a landowner who, just prior to leaving on an extended trip, gave three men some funds to spend, save, or invest. Each had the freedom to use the money as they saw fit but each would be asked for an account of how they handled the money when the landowner returned. The landowner’s expectation was that these men would be stewards of the money he had given them and, in Jesus’ story, those who had been faithful stewards of the funds were rewarded for their efforts and those who did not steward the funds would be held accountable.
Even a negative example can teach leaders positive lessons. Read Luke 16:1-16.
As Jesus spoke with the crowd described in Luke 15:1-2, He told a perplexing story in chapter 16:1-13 that appeared at first glance to encourage dishonesty. Jesus’ real message is that Christian leaders should mimic the steward’s shrewdness, not his dishonesty. This story of the unrighteous manager teaches leaders lessons about shrewdness in business and a few subtle truths about leadership:
A leader’s priorities can keep the good from becoming the enemy of the great. Read Luke 12:13-21.
Jesus’ words were so life changing that people followed Him where ever He went. At times the audience asked Him questions which triggered His teaching on a specific topic. At other times someone in the crowd would ask Jesus to use His authority to resolve a situation. On one such occasion someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus did not give the man advice on how to resolve his situation with his brother but Jesus addressed the real issue that would affect the rest of the man’s life, the man’s priorities.
As important as success, security, and significance are there is something far more meaningful. It is possible for a leader to achieve their wildest dreams for success and significance and still lose everything in the end. This does not mean success, security and significance are always bad but according to Jesus’ story there is a danger if these priorities dominate a leader’s thoughts and actions. Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul.”
The way Jesus’ story ended warned against the attitude of greed and pointed out the futility of priorities that are not in line with God’s will. For Christian leaders the highest priority should be to bring recognition, glory, and honor to God rather than just pleasure to themselves. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” When a leader has that purpose in mind their priorities tend to sort themselves, and bring focus on what will bring the greatest recognition to God.
Write down your top five life priorities. How many of them focus exclusively on your personal benefit or gain? How many of your top five priorities focus on bringing glory to God (even if you do not receive financial gain or recognition)? Wise leaders can learn from Jesus’ teaching and discern bad priorities from good priorities from great priorities.
Leaders are stewards of the resources under their control and must always be prepared to give an account for their actions. Read Matthew 25:1-30.
Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus a series of questions about His second coming. He told them that no one would actually know the day or the hour of His second coming and then He taught on some important principles concerning stewardship. Even though the Bible is clear that salvation is a free gift from God based on the actions of Christ on our behalf during His first visit to earth; when Jesus taught on His second coming, He made it clear that we will be evaluated on our stewardship of the gifts He gave us. Jesus used two stories which illustrate this truth, both stories contrast people who utilized their mind and physical resources, staying prepared for the master’s return, with those who thoughtlessly wasted opportunities and had to answer for their slothfulness.
Leaders function with integrity when they understand they are only stewards of what God owns. Read Malachi 3:6-17.
God established ways for His work to be completed in Israel by full-time priests and their helpers. These temple servants were to be compensated with food and money from the other tribes of Israel so they could live a somewhat normal family life. The law God gave to Moses made provision for these workers because the other tribes were required to tithe from the fruit of their labor.