Are you a good steward?
Stewardship is accepting personal responsibility for taking care of something entrusted to us. When you hear someone talking about being a good steward, you probably think they are talking about money.
It is no doubt very important to be a good steward over our personal finances. In fact, I tend to think it would be nice to do so well with my finances that one day I consider myself rich. If, of course, I have the right frame of mind about wealth.
However, there is a lot more to being a good steward than just money. It is impossible to live life to the fullest while ignoring this fact.
Be a Good Steward Over Your WHOLE Life
Regular people live multi-faceted lives. We have a lot entrusted to our care. We can shirk this responsibility and suffer the consequences or we can step up and do our best.
Living life to the fullest requires us to look at our life as a whole. You can’t just succeed in one area and expect everything to work out happily ever after. You’ve got to be a good steward over all of it.
Sure, we are going to concentrate more heavily in one area or another from time to time. This is called focus and it is crucial to success. However, we have to pull back once in awhile and make sure everything else is still on track. If we don’t, the results can be disastrous.
Here are the areas of life where we need to be a good steward:
Some might think this suggestion, that we need to take care of ourselves first, goes against the whole idea of being a good steward. They might say this is selfish. However, I’d say there is a difference between being selfish and self-invested. We are the best stewards when we are well-rested, healthy, nourished and mentally sharp. In other words, when we’ve taken good care of ourselves first.
Ali Hale wrote an article for Pick The Brain called Why It’s Not Selfish to Put Yourself First, where she suggests that acting in our own best interests involves four areas:
- Physical Needs – things like getting enough sleep and exercise
- Emotional Needs – things like asking for support when you need it
- Mental Needs – things like having a stimulating job
- Spiritual Needs – things like taking time to meditate or pray
I agree with Ali. When you take care of yourself, then you are in a better position to help others. You simply cannot give someone a thirst-quenching drink from a bone-dry cup.
2. Our Relationships
Our marriages, in particular, need a lot of tender loving care. They need our attentive stewardship. Are you giving your partner what they really need and want? We put our best foot forward when we are dating, but we often let our guard down when we get married. This goes for men and women. It is easy to get just a little too relaxed.
When was the last time that you wrote your spouse a truly awesome romantic love letter? How surprised and thrilled would they be if you did this for them this week? It isn’t Valentine’s Day or your anniversary or anything else, but you can really make it special if you take just a few moments to express in writing everything that’s in your heart.
If you need some more ideas for how to take care of your most important relationship, then take a look at How to Improve Marriage and Slow Down Life at the Same Time. Of course, it isn’t just your marriage that needs good stewardship, but I’ll leave it to you to apply some of these same principles in your friendships and other relationships.
3. Our Children and Elders
Have you ever stopped to ponder the amazing responsibility we have in raising our children? As parents, we set the beginning course for our children’s lives. Let’s face it, it is very hard to win a race if you get off to a bad start. I am really almost overwhelmed when I think of all the important things that I want to teach my daughters about life. There is not a moment to waste! I must be a great steward in this area if I want my daughters to realize their best life too.
Of course, it isn’t just our children that we need to be a good steward over. Many of us are caught in the sandwich generation. We have children we are raising and parents that are starting to need our assistance as well. I believe we have a moral and ethical responsibility to help our parents the best we can as they grow older. After all, they invested a lot into us not so long ago.
4. Our Natural Resources and Environment
I love the great outdoors. I love being in beautiful natural surroundings. It energizes me. It reawakens me to being alive and strong. It gives me a sense of connectedness and vitality. I feel better right now just thinking about it even though I am sitting in an office in the city.
Even though the outdoors means so much to me, I’m still not a radical environmentalist. Some of these groups and individuals have just taken things entirely too far. However, I do believe we have to be good stewards over nature. We also need to set the example for planetary stewardship for our kids.
It saddens me when I hear what we are doing to our oceans and forests. It is both arrogant and ignorant of us to think we can continue our bad behavior without any repercussions. The solutions aren’t easy, but we must move toward better stewardship.
5. The Jobs and Businesses that Support Us
We rely on our jobs or businesses to provide us the income necessary to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. However, we often aren’t very grateful for what we have. We take them for granted and trash talk our employers or clients.
Many people feel trapped in their job. They complain and gripe constantly. They also put forward less than their best effort. This is poor stewardship and it is abominable. If this is you, then I’d highly recommend reading Why You Hate Work by Scott Young to help change your attitude.
Jobs and customers are not as plentiful as they once were. We need to hang on to what we have and make them satisfying. We do this by becoming good stewards over our jobs and businesses.
6. Our Finances and Possessions
Finally, we’ll wrap up with where we started. It is important to be a good steward over our money and possessions. I do this so I have more to give others. This adds purpose and meaning to my life which is a huge part of living life to the fullest.
Being buried in debt and stressed out about money is no way to live. It just doesn’t offer you the freedom needed to choose the best life has to offer. Formulate a better vision for your life and take the steps necessary to realize your full potential. Become a good steward of your money!
Be a Good Steward to Get the Most Out of Life
Being a good steward over our whole life liberates us to pursue our life purpose more passionately. It ensures we’ll have the health, happiness and resources necessary to really live a full and rewarding life. It is out there for you. It is within your reach! Become a good steward over your life and you will start to reap all the rewards life has to offer!
In what other areas of life do we need to be good stewards?
Photo by alfonso benayas