My best stewardship happens when I pay it forward. Just like in the movie of the same name, stewardship is best expressed in an attitude of gratitude that serves the needs of others. Those of us who have been given more than we need (or deserve) have the opportunity to give back so that others who come after us will have something significant and substantial to build on.
Here are just some of the ways we can express our gratitude through our stewardship:
Share our resources – If our goal is to get all we can, can all we get and sit on the can, then it is time for us to remember all the folks that helped us along the way and then find ways to give to others. If we start making a list of those who helped us when we could not help ourselves – chances are, it will be a long one. Remember, it’s not about making a fortune; it’s about making a difference!
Choosing to invest our time, not just spend it – When we spend time – watching TV, sports, any activity that simply makes us zone out, that time is lost. When we invest our time – teaching, mentoring, tutoring or just being available to others we can expect there to be a return on that investment.
Recognizing needs and addressing them – Sometimes needs go unmet simply because no one even recognizes them. As entrepreneurs, we are uniquely gifted at discovering opportunities and building on them. Why not use this natural talent to help build up our community, churches and schools?
Setting a great example - As entrepreneurs we are used to modeling good behavior for our employees. It is equally important that we model responsible stewardship and leadership in our community. We never know who is watching us, but we can be sure that someone is and that they can become motivated and inspired by our example.
Leverage our professional skills and contacts - Every industry and occupation have unique skills and talents that can be used to help others. For example, medical professionals often travel to underdeveloped areas to provide free medical care. For each of us, there is a cause or organization that can really use our professional abilities. It is good stewardship to seek them out and serve.
I think that Winston Churchill captured the true spirit of stewardship when he said:
“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give!”