It may seem strange that the final discipline is death. Have we journeyed all this way as a steward leader only now to be asked to die? In a word, yes. The life of the steward leader does not end with death, it begins with death. Indeed, until you have died, you cannot lead or live as Christ intends.
The disciplines of the steward leader are dependent upon a heart that is fully submitted to Christ. And submission requires a real death to all that would encumber us from being ‘all-in’ for Jesus Christ. In his wonderful book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared, “When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.”
The radical values of the kingdom of God tell us that the abundant life in Christ starts with death. Victory in Christ comes only through surrender. If we are to be filled up with all God has for us we must first empty ourselves. As leaders, Christ works in us and through us to the extent that we have put to death our self-serving ways.
The most vital question for every Christian leader is NOT “are you leading effectively?” but “have you died?”
- Have you died to your need to own and control
- Have you died to your need to be right
- Have you died to your need to be liked and affirmed
- Have you died to your need to use others to get what you want
- Have you died to your desire to be measured by what you accomplish more than by who you are
Our death is our liberation. We leave the old life behind and embrace the new creation we have become in Christ. As leaders, we are freed for selfless service in the name of the one who came ‘not to be served but to serve.’ When we have died this death, we rise anew, and we are given the rather breathtaking truth that all we have ahead of us is life. In a world limited by birth as its beginning and death as its end, we are citizens of a kingdom marked by death as its first act, and life without end as its reality and promise.
Are you tired of trying to lead from your own strength, your own skills and on your own terms? Are you ready to lead in greater freedom than you have ever experienced? Are you thirsting to take hold of the life that is truly life? It begins with a glorious death and an embracing of the life of the steward leader.
The discipline we must follow is daily dying to self and rising anew in the love and grace of Christ. As you do you will embark on the journey of a lifetime, the journey of the faithful, obedient and joyful steward who serves at the will and for the sake of our lavish and abundantly gracious God.
Welcome to the journey!