Andy Stanley has penned the phrase: “Leadership is a stewardship, it’s temporary, and you’re accountable.”
Of those three descriptors, I gravitate to “Leadership is stewardship” the most. Especially when I understand the concept of stewardship as not owning something, just managing it. That’s what it means to be a steward. You manage something that never belonged to you in the first place.
Many times we hear this word in the context of money, but as Andy’s quote illustrates, it branches out into other areas as well. In the context of leadership, and agreeing with J. Oswald Sanders in that “Leadership is influence,” I must remind myself, that those I get to influence and lead, NEVER belong to me. I am just fortunate to be considered responsible enough to lead them.
I tend to grimace when I hear a leader claim ownership of the people they lead by referring to them as “my people.” I know, you’re just trying to clarify who you are talking about, but I think it is a small Freudian slip that indicates your perception of your role as a leader and those you lead.
When we understand “Leadership is stewardship,” it drives us to be servant-leaders…then kind Jesus showed us and taught us to be. If you reach a little further back in the Bible, you discover this principle made plain and simple in 1 Kings 12:7:
“If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
Jesus told us the servant was never greater than the master. We just do what He allows us to do. If we lead with that mind-set, He gets the glory…not us.