Are You Stingy With Your Experience?
Stewardship is an old-school word. Churches ruined it by always associating it with money and giving and building campaigns. But we shouldn’t give up this word. It’s important.
A steward is a manager of assets he doesn’t own. Stewardship is about being between the owner of the asset and eventual user of the asset. If you’re a wine steward, you manage the wine inventory for the owner and you make sure it gets to the end-user just as the owner wants. Stewards receive whatever they’re entrusted with, manage the assets while in their charge, and then pass them on when they’re supposed to. Good stewards manage assets with excellence and in accordance with the owner’s wishes. While his compensation is from the owner, the steward gets a huge kick out of seeing the eventual ‘consumer’ enjoy what he’s taken care of.
You are a steward of your experience. It’s an asset uniquely given to you. No one else has your experience. You’ve had some wonderful experience . . . things you’ve learned, stuff you’re proud of and happy to talk about. But you’ve also had some painful experience . . . self-inflicted wounds with collateral damage. Defeat and loss, some by bad decisions, some served up by others, some just by circumstance. All your experience is useful if you’re a man who wants to learn, grow, gain wisdom and build your faith.
But even more important is leveraging your experience to help others. That’s what mentors do. As a mentor, I try to stay with what the Scriptures say and my personal experience. I love Hebrews 5:14 which brings these together:
“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil”.
Good Christian mentors have ‘constantly used’ Scripture and trained themselves to make good decisions and to distinguish good from evil. They didn’t just look it up in the ‘Good Book’. They’ve read, digested, tested and proved the value of Biblical Truth. They’ve come to see their experience as God sees it. Some regrets, lots of forgiveness, amazing grace and mercy, all moving toward overwhelming gratitude. Truth may have entered through their heads . . . through church and reading and Bible study, but Truth has been burned into their hearts through personal experience.
God wants that truth shared to help others. A good steward of his experience is willing to share his screw-ups as well as his ‘wins’. If a younger one can learn from you and avoid the mistakes (i.e. sin) and pain (i.e. consequences) you endured, doesn’t God smile? Isn’t He glorified when sin is avoided?
We must live, watch, read, pray and ask God to teach us what He wants us to learn from our experience. Then we must become good stewards of that experience, humbly offering it to those who are coming behind us. Remember . . . worst case, your experience can always be used in a good way as a bad example! “Here’s what NOT to do!”
Will you sit alone with your wealth of real-life experience and never share it? Will what you’ve learned die with you? Will you avoid the inconvenience of selflessly investing in younger ones, remaining paralyzed by ‘what will they think of me?’ and ‘I don’t have time’? Will you face Jesus as a horrible steward of your experience, explaining why you buried your ‘talent’ instead of investing it?
Or will you humbly reach out, connect and begin the journey of mentoring someone now?
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Great post! Without our “wounds” where would our power be? In God’s army, only wounded soldiers can serve!
Amen Matt. So proud of you
“Stewardship implies acceptance of responsibility for certain assets and resources with the expectation that at the end of your watch you will hand them on in more abundance and in better condition than when you recieved them. When you think of yourself as a steward you do not expect honor to accrue to you, rather you feel honored to be involved in something so worthy of your time and talents.” Betsy Sanders
Love this definition of Stewardship
Me too. Good stuff
from the perspective of leadership, I believe that excellent leaders create leaders while they are leading. This happens through the process of mentoring. The Hersey/Blanchard Model of Leadership surprises anyone interested in leadership/ mentoring by turning the attention to the people or the followers and in a broad manner, assessing how they can be led by identifying whether they as individuals are willing and able. It is critical for any mentor to understand the individual before a direction can be determined. In a bigger picture, the world is so broken and people are starving for love. God is love and we are his hand extended to a lost and lonely world. Mentoring is what Jesus did with the apostles . No one can go wrong sharing the love of Christ with another. Mentor ship requires consistency and long term commitment.
I really like what you have to say. I have been mentoring for years. Thanks!
Fantastic Michele . . . keep it up!
I’ve just found your blog Regi and I’ll be following it. I’ve been mentoring for a while now and feel very blessed for the opportunities to give back every chance I get.
Do you mentor in a group or one-on-one?
This is a great blog. Also love the quote in Tony Caruso’s comment. If possible we should leave both things AND more importantly, people better than we found them.