In an age of rising inequalities, environmental degradation, and political confusion, it is easy for us Christians to look at the world beyond us and think "the world would be a better place if Christians were the ones in leadership positions". And yes, theoretically speaking, a world led according to the will of God will always be better than a world led according to the will of man. But it is presumptuous to think that a Christian in power automatically means a Christian that will lead according to the will of God. Let us consider ourselves: how faithfully have we stewarded what God has given us?
Stewardship simply means to take care or manage something responsibly, often on someone else’s behalf. Biblically, stewardship is based on an understanding of God as the Creator of the universe and Giver of all things. It comes from an acceptance that our lives are not our own, and as such we live our lives and take care of what we are given - to His glory. Leadership ultimately means the same thing but with greater power and responsibility.
So, with the responsibilities we currently have, whether that be civil duties or working in the fashion industry or running your own business, how much time do we really spend on our knees and in the Word of God taking each decision and matter to Him directly? Many of us direct our own paths and expect God to acknowledge them, instead of acknowledging the Lord in all our ways and allowing Him to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). We become our own gods, and our plans and ideas become our idols.
If we desire to see more Christians occupying decision-making and influential positions on this earth, then we need to be those Christians ourselves. Romans 8:5 tells us:
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (NKJV)
This means that we are to be spiritually minded at all times. We shouldn't just switch on our spiritual minds when we're doing ‘spiritual’ things like going to church, and then let our flesh take the lead when we're doing ‘carnal’ things like going to work.
Instead of viewing our endeavours as our own projects, we should start treating them as an extension of whatever God wants to do on this earth through us and the resources He has put at our disposal.
Let us take our cue from the likes of Joseph who, in slavery (even though he knew he was destined for greatness) faithfully served as the overseer of his master’s house, and demonstrated a life surrendered to God by overcoming temptation and always putting God at the forefront of all that he did (Genesis 39:9; 41:16). Or David who (although being anointed as king) faithfully served his king [and enemy] Saul, and honoured God in all that he did (1 Samuel 24). And our Lord Jesus Christ, who (although he was the sinless Son of God) endured hostility without retaliation, and constantly surrendered His will to the Father through fasting and prayer (1 Peter 2: 21-23).
All these examples, and more, show us how essential stewardship is in the characterisation of leadership. I’m a huge advocate for Christians taking on leadership roles in their fields, but I’m starting to see that this is not just an abstract ideal that will happen on its own. It is a reality that we must take on ourselves in our everyday lives.
Luke 16: 11 sums it up perfectly:
“The one who manages the little he has been given with faithfulness and integrity will be promoted and trusted with greater responsibilities” (TPT)
So, if you want to lead, let's first learn to serve!
Words by Annette Tony-Fadipe