By Dr. T. B. Neil
Great accomplishments will occur when talents and time are used effectively. Secondly, it is required that stewards be found faithful. Indolence is the absence of faithfulness. A faithful steward is worth his salt.
A stewards profitability and responsibility can only be measured by accountability. The accountability index is based on “to whom much is entrusted, much is expected.”
Performance planning and review reveals the profitability of the one entrusted with the charge. People do what is inspected and not what was expected. Investors would like to know how much return can be expected from that which was invested. Opportunity wasted can never be retrieved – it is gone forever. Stewardship is at its best when availability and capability are united in executing the mission in a timely manner.
A wise steward is priceless. He or she brings to the team insight and thoughtful ideas that are crucial to the outcome. The steward brings to the group initiatives and problem solving skills. Knowledgeable stewards are essential. They are studious and creative.
Given an assignment, the steward accepts the challenge to produce results. Having problem solving skills are essential for success. Creativity is one of the skills that are essential to stewardship. Doing things right and doing the right thing are the skills that profitable stewards bring to the assignment.
Ability to assess the situation at hand and to formulate a prescriptive solution is an attribute that is needed in good stewards.
The steward applies knowledge gained by experience in a judicial manner to explore the best possible outcome. Excuse is not an option. Faithful stewards do not disappoint their commissioner. They aim to please in words and deeds. Problems are opportunities for invention. Think creatively for solutions. Creative thinking and the ability to think critically is the seed bed for unusual solutions. Wise hearted stewards are known for creative ideas. They think outside the box. Innovative ideas comes from thinking strategically.
Synergistic thinking formulates new approaches to old problems. Change is embraced. New methodology brings new solutions. Imaginations and meditations are weapons of winners who accept difficult challenges and solve unprecedented problems in ways unknown to others. The wise steward looks at the forest as well as the trees and bring forth special fruits. Dynamic thinking is key.
A profitable steward is one that can see into the future. They are ahead of their time. They are seers and have understanding of the seasons.
The ability to anticipate the need for change is one of the defining traits of a profitable steward. Change is not viewed as a threat but an opportunity for bigger and greater things to occur. New formulae and solutions that are cost effective and timely, are brought into being. A new learning curve comes with cross training.
Visualization has no room for pessimism. The steward must be an optimist. What they see, they can conceive. What was conceived, must be believed, and they will be able to receive.
Telescopic views are typical traits of profitable stewards. They can talk about tomorrow’s world today. They believe in looking back into the future. They do not allow stagnation to take place. Fresh methods and ideas are constantly presented to improve situations at hand.
Windows of opportunities are the eyes to their success and prosperity. They can see the need afar off and supply it. They gaze into the fog and make sense of the images they see.
The positive mental attitude of stewards towards their assignments explains their profitability. Losers make excuses. Winners combine visions with provisions. Wise stewards excel because they are governed by visualization. They see possibilities.
Whenever a situation exists that does not fit into the profitability of the assignment, a conflict exists. Adaptation is a diffuser that keeps situations from becoming a crisis.
Successful stewards are aware of their need to adapt in time of conflict. Conflicts are not threats if handled correctly. They highlight latent unprofitable situations that requires innovative approach to a stagnant setting. Successful stewards know when to shift gears. They do not struggle with the wind, they adapt to new conditions.
Situations are dynamic. Nothing is static. The informed steward knows that failure to adjust will result in being left behind. Yesterday’s modus operandi solutions is not good for today. Fresh innovative solutions are required for new challenges.
Compromise is useful when in negotiation. A half glass is at times as good as a full glass. Wise stewards maintain principles, but is willing to compromise methods. They know that principles is their core value and remains unchanged. Methods are not divine, they are situational.
Wise stewards do not fight with diversity, they celebrate it. They apply the calculus of accommodation when needed. The wise steward will use collaboration to bring about an ultimate solution to a difficult conflict.
Communication is the panacea for all ills. Visions, dreams and ideas must be communicated. Communication is the oxygen of any dynamic team building. Communication is essential for participation. Everything with life communicates. Only the dead do not communicate.
Communication ranges from simple to complex coding and decoding. The parties must be on the same page. Types of communication are linked with effectiveness. Some are official and other are through the grapevine.
Methods of communication varies from verbal to nonverbal. The other party interprets or misinterprets based on culture or norms. Lack of communication is the fuse for dynamite. Relationships are destroyed in the absence of clear communication.
Miscommunication is costly. Stewardship effectiveness is reduced when they fail to stay in touch with their mentor. Feedback and progress reports are essential tools for the stewards. Deadlines are met. Consultations and reporting are necessary for staying on track. Communication is another way of giving account of stewardship. Communication addresses past, present and future situations. Meetings and memos are useful tools for staying in touch. Do not wait for the last minute to tell of any difficulty.
What is integrity? What the stewards do when they know that they will not be found out is a measure of character. Character is integrity. Honesty is still the best of policy for stewardship. Every steward will have an opportunity to be disloyal and subversive. Some will fail the test and others will come forth as pure gold, tried in the fire of dishonesty.
Signs of lacking in integrity are undermining authority; speaking evil of dignitaries; two faced; give eye service as men pleaser’s for personal advantage; full of flattery and acts of disingenuous behavior. When character fails, those stewards cannot be trusted.
Taking the high road is a true mark of integrity. Breach of trust and confidentiality, misuse of privileges, abuse of power and betrayals diminishes the worth of stewards.
Character is more important than talents. Stewards must be good and faithful servants.
Stewards must act based on good principles and sound judgment if they plan to excel. Every steward has their price. What was Judas’, Balsam’s and Alexander’s price?
Having a conscience that is alive, is key. In the absence of conscience, acts could be taken to its lowest base. Jude made an impressive list of those that are void of conscience and lacking integrity. Trustworthy stewards are invaluable and must be sought after.
FOLLOWS H I P
In selecting his team, Jesus chose men to follow, not to lead. An effective team must attract quality, mature followers. The wiser the followers, the greater the span of control for leadership. Success in any organization rises and falls on the quality of followers. Mature followers can move mountains of obstacles with the least amount of investment of time. Immature followers are difficult to lead and steer. They are inadequate in themselves and transfer such to those that attempt to lead them. They are insecure and not trusting. Every step of the way they have to be told what is next. They will never be pro-active. They do not know how to take the initiative. Only an authoritarian style of leadership can move immature followers to fruitful production. They consume much of the leadership energy and produce minimal return on resource investments.
The first act of assimilation is to reform immature followers. They come into being storming. Leadership must have them reform before they will ever perform in the best interest of the mission. The social life of the followers are key indicators of the work-input that will be needed to make them productive. Moses had a large following of immature individuals. Joshua had mature followers and was invincible as well as successful. Paul had a mixture of these types of followers. Immature followers hinder the progress, while the mature gainfully expand the kingdom.
A promise not kept, is a debt owed. Stewardship is about service and dependability. The value of a good steward is measured by timely performance. Expectations not met carry serious consequences.
Deadlines are the lifeline of stewardship. Profitable stewards are known for delivery according to plan. Excuses are costly in any organization. Performance according to plan is the life blood of business. The ability to carry out the mission is what stewardship is all about. Showing up on time and leaving late are hall markings of potential leaders.
Stewardship is the first step to leadership. A good steward takes his or her responsibility seriously. It is like taking an oath of allegiance to be faithful to the role assumed.
The assignment must be completed in a timely manner. Time-loss is consequential. The steward must take personal ownership for the outcome of the mission-assignment committed to their trust.
The steward cannot delegate responsibility. The blame-game is not acceptable for nonperformance. Stewardship is a very responsible position and must be taken seriously. Others are depending on the steward’s performance.
Reliability is priceless. When stewards are prolific, their worth increases as essential to the outcome and profitability. Reliability means that trust and expectations will be lived up to.
Abraham and Paul had staff that were dependable. They were faithful stewards. They did not drop the ball, they lived up to expectations and produced excellence.
Reliability is critical to stewardship. Outcome of plans depend on contributions from trustworthy stewards. Problems are prevented from becoming a crisis. Reliable stewards are known planners who will count the cost and sacrifice to bring about profitable ending to any assignment. They get the job done. Moses and Solomon were able to fulfill building assignments given because of the caliber of stewards they had in the workforce. They completed the assignment on time, according to specification.
Reliability is about quality control. Substandard efforts are not acceptable, only the finest and the best of abilities are (liven. Profitable stewards are reliable and have civic pride In all that they produce. They always aim to leave situations better than they came and saw.
Wise stewards are not authors of confusion. They believe in a structured approach to their assignments. They are systematic and work in an orderly manner. Structure is used to minimize wasting time. A sense of order is establish in approaching new assignments. Organization is central to their timely delivery of promises. Organized work habits explain why some stewards are so productive.
Once organized, it becomes easy to track progress, determine critical points, floats and dead ends. Profitable stewards are organized for success. Prosperity always follows success. Joseph was known for organizing. His overseer acknowledge his organizational skills and promoted Joseph to leadership.
Organization helps to minimize confusion. The apostle Paul brought organization to the churches. Organized stewards are priceless. They are informed and are good directors. Organized stewards are punctual and responds to needs in a timely manner. They keep appointments and produce as promised.
Organized stewards are good communicators. They communicate ideas in a systematic manner. They know what they wish to communicate and articulate it with respect and confidence.
Failure to plan is to plan to fail. Stewards are entrusted with the resources of others.
Where there is no plan, any route will get you anywhere. The ability to plan is vital to profitable stewards. Knowing where, who, why, how and when things are to be addressed requires planning. Planning must precede actions taken.
Jesus said the cost must be estimated or counted before any decisions are made to build. Failure is more costly than success. Much time and thoughtfulness is involved in making plans. It will prove wise at the end of the journey, when planning is taken care of before actions and commitments are made. Businesses fail because of no planning or poor planning. Planning is work. It requires much research and assessments of benefits against risk. Foresight will save much embarrassment.
Setting of priorities is necessary. Wise planning takes into consideration: concerns, fears, hopes, beliefs, values and limitations, opportunities and threats. Planning must address specifics goals. All goals must be measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely scheduled for start up and completion dates.
Three great threats are money, wine, women and power. The worst of all is money. Paul warned his mentored against the love of money. Money breaks up families, friends and ministries are destroyed by it. Achan and Ghazi are cases in point. So much could be said about the pros and cons.
It’s the will of God that we prosper. Mentored must be trained in financial faithfulness. Family budgeting must be taught. The proper use of the credit system is to be taught.
Money solves basic human needs, but it’s not everything. Financial security comes into being as one who is faithful to obligations to the work of God, the family and the creditors.
The sources of money is by employment, and sensible investment in the money market. Unemployment is an enemy of the family financial security. Unwise spending is the enemy of the family security.
Conflict comes from many sources. Some conflicts are avoidable and others are not. Learn methods of conflict resolution for a healthy long term relationship. The beatitudes is the best plan for solving conflicts. Practice of the Ten Commandments will surely keep conflict at a low level. Learn methods of humility and the benefits from the Fruit of the Spirit. All strife comes from the works of the flesh mentioned in the Epistles to the Galatians.
Respecting the rights of others will keep conflict to a bare minimum. Accountability to each other will help keep peace and fellowship to flourish between parties. Forgiveness is the key to solving issues. Learn how to forgive and to forget. Conflict resolution can be resolved by personal accountability to resolve issues; mediation to settle differences and arbitration to address impasse. Keep in mind that forgiveness is a gift to the offending party.
The goal of settlement is to diffuse by de-escalation of the crisis. Peaceful coexistence is the mark of true discipleship. Reasons for conflict are: violating the rights of others; busy body in others privacy; destroying the reputation of others; feeding evil report about others; invading the space and vineyard of others.
Sheep stealing is unnecessary, and can be the cause of hate and division. Blessed are the unity builders and peace makers.
The above article “Stewardship” is written by Dr. T.B. Neil. This article was excerpted from Neil’s book Sculpting Leaders.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.