One Thing We Own By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
The One Thing We Own – Our Mistakes
As steward leaders, there is ONE thing we must OWN – our mistakes. UGH! Y’all, I blew it. Here we are. The team is gathered for our monthly meeting. The room is abuzz. The conversation is rich. The meeting’s goal is to provide an opportunity to foster cohesion and unity among us. It is meant to support organizational health. I desire robust discussion and pepper the agenda with thought-provoking questions to spur our minds. Sounds like a good plan, right? But not today.
Today, I found myself ‘preaching’ at a fellow teammate, watching her become more and more defensive. I was unable to let go of my ‘righteous’ agenda until it was too late. Perhaps you’ve had a day like that too. What do you do when, in a matter of moments, the ideal dreams of unity are shattered by human frailty?
In these moments of mistakes, wrong-doing, and, frankly, sin, steward leaders embrace personal responsibility, examination, and confession, seeking to align their hearts with God. Beyond apologies and a simple, “I’m sorry,” we are invited to pause and reflect on the pieces of our hearts where we might be robbing God of control.
By owning our sin, we are relinquishing the ownership of our life to God. In these moments before God, I’ve found He reveals how I must make different choices in the relationships He’s entrusted to me. For me, my times of confession before God prompt me to examine how I steward power and people.
Here’s the tension. As God’s stewards we acknowledge two truths: God is all powerful AND He empowers us. Our choices matter. God appoints stewards to act on His behalf. Yet, am I aware of my attempts to abuse the power God’s given to me? As CEOs, ministry leaders, and pastors, God authorizes us to lead, but are we attuned to those moments when we try to claim ownership of God’s authority? When I am properly stewarding God’s power, then the result produces life in me and others. Our imitation of Christ allows us to balance the power we are given as reflected in Paul’s words in Philippians chapter 2.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Crossway, 2001).
Releasing my selfish ambition is rooted in humility and emptying myself of every false claim to God’s power. This often means the most powerful decision I can make as a steward is choosing death – death to my agenda and death to the demand to have my own way. Otherwise, my abuse of power robs others of life. My decision to die to false empowerment becomes fertile soil for LIFE to be resurrected. Steward leaders employ life-giving power.
As the discussion with my teammate was regressing into messy debate, I saw a snowball of pride and stubbornness quickly build to an avalanche of hurt. I knew I must seek forgiveness. I had to move towards her. God’s stewards are not simply responsible for managing resources and for mission fulfillment. We are stewards of our relationships. We are created for communion and relationship. How we care for those whom God entrusts to our circle of influence matters most. This supersedes any mission statement I might wish to pursue.
When I choose to pursue others, I consider what is important to them. When I keep this in mind, then conversations with colleagues are focused on what is motivating their hearts. I become more curious and less demanding. I believe insight empowers growth. As a steward leader, the best gift I can offer teammates is cultivating an atmosphere of examination and insight. This atmosphere begins with me. I must examine my own life first and change, instead of jumping ahead of God and His work in another person’s life.
Prioritizing the people God entrusts to my care means I surrender my view of others in exchange for God’s view. And I choose to salt my conversations with words which affirm the beauty of how God designed them. One of my favorite moments in Adam and Eve’s story is when Adam gives Eve her name.
After all the chaos and pain, it is powerful that God allows a fallen man and woman this taste of healing. Eve means ‘mother of all that is living,’ so Adam chose a name which reminded Eve of God’s design for her and of the promised Son who brings LIFE to all (Crossway, 2001). Adam moves toward Eve with words which remind her of redemption. Likewise, as faithful stewards, we pursue our relationships with redeeming words which bring HOPE.
It is a hard to surrender our demands and to “OWN” our mistakes. I believe it is in these moments where God transforms our hearts as steward leaders. In our dying to selfish ambition, He empowers LIFE. In choosing redemptive words, He moves us and those around us towards HOPE
Andrea Leigh Capuyan is the Executive Director of the Laurel Pregnancy Center.
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