The plans of the diligent
lead to profit
as surely as haste
leads to poverty
Last week I was discussing with a colleague some work that needed to be done. As I described the work, their answer was “that’s easy.” I shook my head in disbelief, because for me it seemed like a daunting task. Later, I sat down and in two hours drafted a two-page business proposal. “How did you do that so quickly?” somebody asked me. My reply was “Oh, that was easy!”
We can say “that’s easy” to a task, when the task aligns with our natural abilities and we have been good stewards of the talents God’s has blessed us with.
Be a Good Steward of your Skills
You are God’s child. You are the steward of the gifts, skills, relationships and place which God has blessed you with. God has provided you with your job and everything you need to do your job with excellence, and to pursue your career. God is honored and glorified when you are a good steward of your skills and talents.
If you aren’t a good steward of your skills and all that God has blessed you with, you won’t be able to love and serve effectively where you are today, or in the next opportunity that arises. Most likely you won’t know what lies ahead, but God does. God has placed you where you are today so that you can refine the skills, wisdom and relationships you will need for your future.
In Genesis 14 we are told the story of how Abram’s cousin Lot was taken captive along with all the people of Sodom. When Abram hears this story, Abram didn’t hesitate to act. Some people would probably have tried to talk Abram out of it. They would have tried to tell him that he was embarking on a foolhardy mission to defeat an army that had just conquered all the surrounding cities. But Abram could say “This is easy!” Why? Because Abram had prepared for this eventuality.
Abram knew that he lived in an area where battles were fought. So, for years Abram put part of his wealth towards training his servants in battle, building an armory, hiring people to make weapons or buying weapons so that he was prepared for a future battle. Abram earned the loyalty of his army with the way he treated his people. As a result, they trusted him when he led them on this battle mission. Over the years Abram had learned which leaders he could trust in stressful situations. So, when he was planning the ambush, there was no doubt in Abram’s mind as to who he would choose to lead the ambush. Rescuing Lot would require a brilliant strategy. Strategy is something that Abram would have learned over the years in practice, and by observing other brilliant commanders of his era. Most importantly Abram was a good steward of God’s word. Trusting God, relying on God’s wisdom and knowing that God was faithful to his promises Abram successfully rescued Lot.
Be a Good Steward of your Team
As a good steward surround yourself with the team or teams you need to accomplish what lies ahead. Through your actions earn the trust and loyalty of your direct team and the people around you. Take the time to get to know the capabilities of each team member and of the teams you work with, so that you know what tasks you can entrust them with.
Be a Good Steward of Strategic Thinking
As a good steward take the time to learn and develop strategies to best utilize the skills and the team you have. Strategy is an intrinsic part of the nature of God’s creation. As you learn strategic thinking, you are learning more of the character of God, and the ways of God’s creation. When the opportunity arises, you will be able to develop a shrewd plan if you have been a good student of strategy.
Be a Good Steward of God’s Word
Be a good steward of God’s word. God has blessed you with His word so that you might know how to live in His Kingdom. In whatever situation you find yourself, God will reveal his love, his wisdom, his faithfulness and his holiness to you through His word. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17).
Be a Good Steward When life serves you lemons …
There are times when life serves you lemons. At those times its tempting to stop being a good steward of your talents, to stop learning, to stop applying yourself. When life serves you lemons, God is still walking beside you. When life serves you lemons continue to develop your skills, for one day God will extrude you from the juicer and place you in a new situation. Then, when you are asked why this new job is easy you will say it’s easy because of the skills you learned while juicing lemons into lemonade.
Joseph spent years working as a slave, and many more years unjustly accused in prison. Joseph used those years to develop his leadership skills and financial acumen, not knowing what the future would hold, or if he would ever leave prison. Then one day Pharaoh had a dream. Joseph never could have imagined that God would use dream to extrude him from prison into the second most important position in all of Egypt. Joseph was ready for that position because he had continued to develop his skills during his imprisonment.
Be a Good Steward When you find yourself in the desert …
Sometimes in life when you may yourself in the desert. In the desert its tough to be motivated to be a good steward of your talents, to keep learning, to keep applying yourself. When you find yourself in the desert, God is still there beside you. One day God will lead you from the desert into a place with new responsibilities. In this new position of leadership, you will say “it’s easy” if you’ve proven God to be faithful in the desert, and if you’ve faithfully remained obedient to God in the desert.
Moses spent 40 years in the backside of the desert. Moses patiently, day in – day out honed the talents God had given him while he cared for the sheep. Moses the shepherd who had learned to trust in God in the desert was the man that God was looking for to lead his flock from Egypt to Jericho.
A Daily Habit
When you make it a daily habit to be a good steward of the skills and talents God has blessed you with; when you are a good steward of the people God has placed in your life; when you take the time to learn strategy; and when you are a good steward of God’s word and God’s promises then one day when something needs to get done which matches your God given talents, you will say “that’s easy! I’ve been preparing for that!”
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man. (Prov 6:6-11)
Father you have blessed me with so many amazing gifts, how can I ever repay you for your abundant generosity? Grant me Lord wisdom today to be a wise steward of my skills, my team, strategic thinking, your word, and even lemons and the desert. Amen.