Good Stewardship of Your Influence

shoes

In a sermon series, Pastor Benny Ho, a well-known pastor in the Asia region and a senior pastor of Faith Community Church in Perth, Australia said that “there is a difference between prominence and significance”, which switched my thinking light bulb on in relation to this month’s series.

Very often, we talk about stewardship of our time, talents and finances. However, one area that I find rarely mentioned (except otherwise in the context of leadership). In the marketplace, being a leader and having the authority is equated to having some form of influence. I started to think, what about ordinary folks like us?

From my observation, this is rarely discussed because majority of us feel that the season that we are currently – our vocation, relationship or social status in life and even our finances are in no way able to make any significant impact. Just like adding a drop of water into the ocean, it literally doesn’t make any difference because we are neither wealthy, famous nor attractive enough to have the platform of influence.

However, I hope to challenge your perspective as well as my own to see through God’s perspective. Although one drop of water doesn’t make significant impact pertaining to the volume (in the ocean), but what it does is that it create ripples on the surface of the water. This analogy shows me that the job that I have now, the community that I am in contact with now and my relationship status today in this season of my life truly matter to God on how I steward my influence.

Lisa Bevere (a successful preacher and best-selling author) said “God invites us to work with what He’s already given us. To those who are faithful, He entrusts more. It’s how His kingdom operates.” That is a powerful statement and inspiring.

If we are to pay more attention to the meaning of our existence and the people around us, realizing that we DO have the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something in small ordinary ways hence the proclivity of doing something silly that we will eventually regret or allowing ourselves to just drift away with the worldly concerns, comparisons and emptiness – in summary, self centeredness can be avoided.

Our significance as daughters of god is not found in the prominence defined by the world. Just because we are not achieved the ‘status’ of being a wife, a mother, a business owner, a minister or a politician does not mean that our influence cannot bring significance to the world around us.

Zechariah 4:10 says “Do not despise these small beginning, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Your sphere of influence is what God has entrusted you with, cherish it and steward it in such a way that would add value to the world around you.

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timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

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Dig It Up

shovel

My husband loves to sing. He’ll croon along with a jingle during a commercial break. Or duet with a singer on the car radio.  Or hum a Disney tune while working on his computer.  He always fills our house and makes me smile with his adorable melodies.

His adorable off-key melodies.

Because as much as my husband loves to sing, he can’t and he knows it.  (Disclosure: I actually love his voice, tone deafness and all, but he informs me that I have biased eardrums.) He said if he had the ability to sing well, to gracefully and expertly harmonize, to vocalize like an old Bruno Mars or a new Luther Vandross, he’d sing everywhere at all times. Nothing on Earth would keep him from using his gift.

But sometimes, we do fail to use our God given gifts wisely. It’s not that we squander them on meaningless activity. Or that we spread their influence too wide, eventually depleting their effectiveness. What we end up doing is the worst thing possible.

We bury our gifts and don’t use them at all.

“But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.… Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that You are a hard man, harvesting where You have not sown and gathering where You have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid Your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to You.’” –Matthew 25:18,24- 25 (NIV)

God has poured into each of us a startling variety of skills, passions, sensitivities, and abilities for His purpose.  And He doesn’t want them back in mint condition or with blankets of dust from inactivity. They’re to be shared and used for encouragement, for comfort, for worship, and for help.  We are to spread our gifts lavishly and without fear.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”-Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

Proper stewardship of what God has gifted you to do requires responsibility and action. Have you buried or hidden something that the Lord has given you? Today is a good day to dig it up.

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

Good Stewardship Means Saying No

choice

A few years ago, there was a newfangled notion that got a lot of excitement for revolutionizing people’s lives: saying YES to every opportunity.  If you felt stuck in a rut, this was the concept that was going to change your life!  Say yes to every business opportunity!  Say yes to every date!  Say yes to every invitation from a friend!

Magazine articles and books were written about it, and there was even a Jim Carey movie that took it to the extreme – Yes Man.  New doors would be open to you if you just invited opportunity into your life!

I am a person who has mostly subscribed to this theory.  I love taking on challenges.  I embrace responsibility and am excited by new opportunities.   But the unfortunate reality is that this also means that I can quickly get overwhelmed.  The one extra day a week I had that led me to commit to five different projects is suddenly not enough and I am running to catch up.

As a married person, I have had to put up some boundaries to protect my marriage.  Every hour away from my husband outside of work – volunteering, serving, happy hour with friends – is an hour that I am investing in other things than my marriage.  Before committing to an activity, I now ask myself, is this worth the time taken away from investing in my marriage?

Evaluating every activity this way has helped me make important decisions about where I put my time.  Yes, it is always uncomfortable to have to tell someone no – particularly if I had already said yes before – but people have been understanding.  My marriage comes first.

Even as I am writing this, I have a confession to make – I have been willing to put my marriage first, but I have not put my even more important relationship with God first in the same way.  What if I asked that same question for every activity that took away from investing in my relationship with God?

As a single person, the challenge is even greater.  People assume that if you are not married and do not have children, your free time is at their disposal.  I often felt guilty for saying no to activities, many of which were worthwhile.  I would instead run myself ragged and then be so exhausted on Sunday that I would stay in bed for most of the day.

Jesus, of course, knew how to protect His relationship with God.  The Bible tells us that even in the midst of His ministry, even when He knew His time on earth was limited, He still took time to invest in His relationship with God.  In Luke we read:

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

Imagine that pressure!  Sick people from all around – people in real need of a savior both physically and spiritually – were coming to see Him and be healed!  But He recognized that His first obligation was to the Lord.

Good stewardship means setting priorities and remembering to put first what matters most.  Take a look at your weekly schedule and ask yourself, are all of these activities worth the time away from God?  Try saying no to some things and create a space for God to fill.