The steward as servant, and servant leader

There are so many ways in which growing as a steward impacts our lives. As we grow in awareness of our blessings, we also become more grateful for them. Gratitude leads us to share with others, and doing so has an impact on those who receive what we give, as well as touching us as we give. 

There is something else for us to think about as we consider our lives as stewards, and that is our call to lead, using our talents and gifts, time, and resources in a way that positively impacts those with whom we interact. All of us are leaders in one way or another. We lead at home, as we call each other to live and grow as good and holy people within our families; we lead at work, as we interact with others and contribute to the tasks at hand; we lead within our parishes, as we serve and grow in ministry and mission. 

Recently, I was reading a Scripture commentary by the Biblical scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, and I came across this explanation of Luke 12:32-48, in which Jesus tells us we should be ready for his return, like the servants who await the return of the master:

“The role of the household manager or steward is well fitted to Luke’s understanding of authority in the community. His role was to direct the affairs of the other slaves, to see they did their work, but also to serve their needs. The steward was answerable (in fidelity) to the master who appointed him, as well as answerable (in fidelity) to the other slaves. He could not be faithful to one while being abusive to the other.

Once more, the image of authority is one of service to others. Yes, this applies in a special way to the Twelve as leaders of the restored Israel. Whereas all the servants were to stand in readiness for their master, and do their work in a pleasing fashion, the leaders are responsible not only for their work but also for the work of the community as a whole. If they do their work well, they will receive the reward of still greater authority. But if they abuse their privilege, they will be cut off completely.” (Sacra Pagina, p. 206)

We are all called to be servant leaders! We are responsible to God and to one another. Our actions and interactions with one another have sacred, holy implications, and lead to lasting impact.