Are You Being a Good Steward of Your Potential?

No one sets a goal to pursue a life of mediocrity. Yet many of us find ourselves on the path of least resistance, whether we meant to be or not. Then we find ourselves searching for meaning, fulfillment, growth and impact, but not finding them. That’s because we’re on the wrong path. We need to move from a life of mediocrity to a life of stewardship. 

A Lesson in Stewardship

Stewardship is making the most of what we’ve been given. This concept is often applied to finances, leading us to invest and multiply our money. However, there are other ways in which we need to have a steward’s mindset. Whether you are a Christian or not, we can all learn about stewardship from the following story.

In the Bible Jesus teaches us about stewardship when he says:

“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’ (MSG Matthew 25:14-30)

Do you recognize yourself as one of the servants? I do. I have played the part of the “play-it-safe” servant. I have succumbed to the resistance, the voice that tells me not to try, not to improve, not to succeed. However, we are called to live a life of excellence, to be good stewards of our potentials.

Being a Good Steward

Just as the the servant who earned $10,000 was rewarded, we too will be rewarded for being good stewards of what we’ve been given. This begs the question, what can I do to be a good steward of my potential?

In Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow wrote of his parent’s perspective on stewarding potential. “They felt like it was always our responsibility to identify and fully develop the abilities, talents and gifts God created within us.”

We can all become better stewards of our potentials by committing to 3 ongoing actions.

1. Invest in Your Abilities, Talents and Gifts. Parents invest in developing the abilities of their children all the time. Music lessons, summer camp, art class and school enrichment trips are all examples of this. As we become adults, we stop systematically aiming to improve in the same way.

In this blog post, I outlined 5 ways for continual growth. They are geared toward those in a leadership role, but can be applied to many areas of life.

Here are a few suggestions to help you invest in yourself:

  • Read a book
  • Attend a workshop, seminar or conference (in-person or online)
  • Join a group of like-minded people
  • Find a mentor
  • Hire a coach

2. Live Intentionally. Being a steward of your potential cannot be a halfhearted effort. You must be purposeful in the ways that you use your time, energy and effort. You must be strategic in finding time to invest in your abilities, talents and gifts.

Identify small habits that you can make consistent parts of your daily or weekly routines. These will drive big changes over time.

Here are four questions to get you thinking of ways to live intentionally (and a few links to help you along the way):

3. Allow Christ to Lead. As a Christian, I believe this is the centerpiece of stewardship.

Christ’s aim is to perfect each of us in his image. The process begins when we agree to follow his lead and allow him to work in and through our lives. We grow most when we submit to his process for cultivating our potentials.

C.S. Lewis paints a vivid picture of this in Mere Christianity. He says that salt does not overpower food, but brings out its flavor to its fullest just as Christ brings out our fullest if we submit to him.

Without Jesus as our guide, we will never fulfill the true potentials that God intended for us.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)

We have all been given unique sets of abilities, strengths and gifts. What we do with them is up to us. This isn’t to say we must fill every waking hour with busyness in order to be good stewards. However, we are called to make the most of what we’ve been given. We are called to be intentional, invest in our potentials and allow Christ to lead us to become the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be.

Everything we are and everything we have comes from God and belongs to him. We have a responsibility to honor God by being stewards, multiplying all he has given us. In the end, we will be held accountable for our stewardship, just like the servants in Matthew.

Question: What are you doing to steward your potential? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below this post.

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Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.