Many people view leadership as a privilege, a position or the result of hard work. Some see leadership as a way to promote an agenda, or a title that allows them to get what they want.
But what if I told you that leadership is first and foremost a stewardship? It’s something that God has entrusted to you.
In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the talents. A man takes a long journey and chooses to entrust his possessions to his servants while he’s gone. To one, he gives five talents, to another, two talents, and to another, one talent.
From this parable, we learn three important lessons about the stewardship of leadership.
1. Stewardship is a Trust, Not a Possession.
A trust is anything God has placed in your care. A possession, on the other hand, is something that belongs to you. In our world today, much of what we have—money, jobs, time, ability, skills, possessions and, yes, leadership—is viewed as a possession. But God views these things as a trust with great responsibility.
In this parable, the master brings his servants together and gives each of them talents. A talent was a measurement of weight. The value of a talent was determined by whatever was being weighed. In other words, a talent of gold was worth more than a talent of silver. The master chose to leave talents of money with each servant, what most commentators believe was worth several thousand dollars.
But notice something crucial about this exchange. The master didn’t give his servants the money for them to take as a personal possession. Instead, he entrusted the money to them. Why? Because the servants were stewards. And stewardship is a trust not a possession.
So why did the master give the servants (or the stewards) different amounts of money? Because each servant had varying levels of capacity. Matthew 25:15 says, “To one, he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”
The master distributed opportunity not in an effort to be fair, but rather in a manner consistent with his servants’ abilities.
The servant with the capacity for larger responsibility was entrusted with larger opportunity. And the servant with the capacity for smaller responsibility was entrusted with smaller opportunity. The sum of money entrusted to the servants was directly proportionate to the capacity of the servant’s ability.
I believe the same is true in leadership. God will entrust you with leadership opportunity that is directly proportionate to your leadership ability.
But that will only happen if you view leadership as a trust, not a possession. And that brings us to our second point.