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Life on Loan by Scott Rodin

What changes when we live life on loan?

As stewards, we understand that all of life is on loan, and we respond by living lightly in this world as caretakers of that which is not ours. This results in a life of real freedom to which we respond with joyful obedience. These are the marks of the victorious steward: freedom, obedience, and joy.

At battle with this freedom is an enemy who seeks to steal our joy by luring us into playing the owner. As owners, we claim to have control over our time, talents, and resources that we can employ for our own good and gain. Once we shift our perspective from steward to owner, we become enslaved to the never-ending work of maintaining our control and gaining more of it.

This is the battle of our lives and it is a battle for lordship.

The stakes in this battle increase greatly when we are called to lead. 

As leaders, we now fight this battle with and on behalf of others. And for the people we lead and the organizations we serve, everything depends on whether we choose to be owner leaders or steward leaders.

Owner Leaders

Owner leaders take their organization on their own shoulders and tie their own self-worth to its success, which requires that they protect turf, use people as a means to an end, and exert control over every situation. Their leadership is typified by power and fear, and results in anxiety, stress, and burnout. They are leaders in bondage and they, in turn, enslave the people they lead.

Steward Leaders

Steward leaders  yield their organization to God and seek only to be an obedient, responsive servant of the true owner. As a result, they are set free to lead! In this freedom, they give away power and build up the people around them. They are at peace with success or struggle, because they are at peace with themselves. And God works through them to set their people free.

Christians Called to Lead

We are on a journey from our old ownership ways to the victorious life of the steward leader. The journey is marked by an almost continuous battle to let God to be the absolute Lord of our life, and of all aspects of our calling as leaders.

This world is desperately in need of steward leaders who have sold out completely to Jesus Christ, who stake no claims for themselves but who rejoice in the success of everyone around them—leaders who are genuinely free!

You can know that freedom for yourself. It starts with a simple prayer, “Lord, it is not mine, it is yours . . . all of it!”

Pray it every morning before you leave your bed and don’t get up until your spirit knows that sweet sense of freedom that comes as a gift from the Holy Spirit into the heart of a steward leader who is set free to lead.

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Scott Rodin  is president of The Steward’s Journey and Kingdom Life Publishing. He also runs Rodin Consulting, Inc. He is a Senior Fellow of the Association of Biblical Higher Education and is past board chair of ChinaSource and the Evangelical Environmental Network.

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