HIGHER THINKING BLOG
Knowledge Stewards By Jon Hirst
My wife and I are raising our children to steward the resources that God has given them wisely. As we walk alongside them in that journey, I have realized that some stewardship responsibilities are easier to get your head around than others. For instance, if our son has five dollars, he can hold it in his hands, consider how it should be spent and then go about tithing, saving and spending that five dollars.
But screen time is a bit trickier. Time in front of a computer with access to the world’s information, games and countless memes of his various fandoms is not as tangible as a five dollar bill, but it is still a resource to be stewarded. Its hard to put a value on time or access.
This dynamic that I watch as my kids steward money vs. screen time is also at work among adults. It is much easier for us to understand stewardship of tangible things like money, property, skills, or business assets. I’m not saying it is easy for us to be good stewards; that takes hard work. But these are things we can wrap our head around.
On the other hand, stewarding intangible things is much trickier. We can’t feel it, touch it or give it to someone in the same way. So many times we fail to see it as a resource. It is that way with knowledge stewardship – the stewarding of what God has designed our brain to create.
In an idea economy, each new insight or concept you create could be worth millions. What goes on in your brain is one of the most valuable resources you have to steward, but we seldom think of it that way. But what would happen if we did? How might God use what He has wired you to think up to bless His Kingdom?
But a few things are necessary for us to be good knowledge stewards. First we must get beyond the hang-ups and then we must cultivate some key characteristics. Two hang-ups:
Intangible Nature of Knowledge
I’ve found that the key to reframing knowledge as a resource is to look at what the knowledge produces in the world. Think about an idea that leads to a patent or a process that gets implemented in an organization to increase efficiency. Ideas can be more tangible than we think!
In stewardship, we are managing the resources owned by another. But does God own my brain? As we are renewed in Christ and becoming more like Him, our thoughts are made subject to Him and are a resource at His disposal.
With the hang-ups understood, there are three characteristics to consider:
- Discernment: With so much data out there, we need to know what knowledge God has for us to steward. This is a challenging process of seeking God’s will in what we know.
- Humility: If knowledge is ever to be stewarded, we have to focus on how our ideas can be a blessing to others. We must not allow our knowledge to puff us up, but instead consider how our knowledge can bless others.
- Service: We have to remind ourselves that the ideas God gives us belong to Him. This posture of service to the King, even with something so intangible, is key to honoring God with what we know.
If you would like to learn more, visit Explore Knowledge Stewardship, at the GMI website.
Jon Hirst is the CEO of Global Mapping International (GMI), a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering God’s mission in the world through research, mapping and information technology services.
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